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Kate Douglas Wiggin

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Copyright, 1866. 1920, by Harper &

Printed in the United States of America
Published September. 1920













" 26




" 88




" 100









was once a green book,

deliriously thick, with
gilt-edged pages and the name of the author in
script on the front cover.
Like an antique posy ring, it was a "box of
jewels, shop
of rarities"; was a veritable Pandora's box, and if
you laid
warm, childish hands upon it and held it pressed close to
your you could hear, as Pandora did, soft rustlings,

murmurings, flutterings, and whisperings from the fairy folk

within. For this was a fairy book Edouard
: '
Tales," and its heroes and heroines became first the
companions, and then the lifetime possession, of the two
little girls to whom it belonged.
From the New England village where it was originally
given to them, it traveled to the far West and were
its tales
told to countless immigrant children of San Francisco, whose
great eyes opened wider as they listened,
breathless, to
storiesbeloved by their ancestors. In later years the
volume journeyed by clumsy, rattling and rawboned
nags to Mexico, and the extraordinary adventures of " Yvon
and Finette," "Carlino," and "Graceful" were repeated 111
freshly learned Spanish, to many a group of brown-cheeked
little people on the hillsides of Sonora.

And now, long, long afterward, there stands on a shelf

above desk the very selfsame worn green volume, read
and re-read a hundred times, but so tenderly and respect-
fully that it has kept all its pages and both its covers; and
on this desk itself are the proofs of a new edition with clear,
beautiful print and gay pictures by Edward McCandlish !

To be asked to write an introduction to this particular

book seems insufferable patronage; yet one would do it for
love of Laboulaye, or for the sake of one's own "little

past," or to draw one more young reader into the charmed

circle that will welcome these pages.
The two who adored Laboulaye's "Tales"

possessed many another fairy book, so why did this especial

volume hold a niche apart in the gallery of their hearts?

Partly, perhaps, because of the Gallic wit and vivacity

with which the tales are told, for children are never too
young to appreciate the charms of style.
You remember, possibly, the French chef who, being
imprisoned with no materials save the tools of his trade, and
commanded on pain of death to produce an omelette,
proudly emerged at last, bearing a savory dish made out of
the sole of his shoe?
Of even such stuff Laboulaye could have concocted a
delectable tale;but with Brittany, Bohemia, Italy, Dal-
matia, Hungary, and Spain for his storehouses, one has only
to taste to know how finely flavored are the dishes he
sets forth.
In his preface to the first American edition Laboulaye
writes a letter to Mile. Gabrielle Laboulaye, aged two! In
it he says: "When you throw away this book with your
doll, do not be too severe with your old grandfather for

wasting his time on such trifles as fairy stories. Experience

will teach you that the truest and sweetest things in life

are not those which we see, but of which we dream." Happy

the children who have this philosophy set before them
early in life.

Like the fairy Robert Louis Stevenson remembered,


these of Laboulaye's have "the golden smell of broom and

the shade of pine," and they will come back to the child
whenever the Wind of Memory blows.
In common with the stories of Charles Perrault, literary
parent of the fairy tale, Laboulaye's charming narratives
have a certain unique quality due to the fact that they
were intended and collected for the author's own children,
were told to them round the fireside in the evening, and so

received at hand the comment and suggestion of

first a

bevy of competent, if somewhat youthful, critics.

It is a great scarcity of fairy folk in
said that there is

modern France; and that, terrified by the thunders of the

Revolution, they left their unhappy country in a body
during its
stormy years, first assembling in grateful con-
course around the tomb of Perrault, upon whose memory
they conferred the boon of immortality.
If this story is true and the last reported act of the

fairieson leaving France makes it appear so then we may

be sure that a few of the more hardy and adventurous fays
skipped back again across the border and hid themselves
in Laboulaye's box of jewels, where they give to each gem
an even brighter sheen and a more magical luster.


August, 1930.
upon a time there lived in Brittany
a noble lord, who was called the Baron
Kerver. His manor-house was the most beautiful in the
province. It was a great Gothic
with a groined
roof and walls, covered with carving, that looked at a
distance like a vine climbing over an arbor. On the
first floor six balcony windows looked out
on each side toward the rising and the setting sun. In
the morning, when the baron, mounted on his dun mare,
went forth into the forest, followed by his tall grey-
hounds, he saw at each window one of his daughters,
with prayer-book in hand, praying for the house of
Kerver, and who, with their fair curls, blue eyes, and
clasped hands, might have been taken for six Madonnas in
an azure niche. At evening, when the sun declined and
the baron returned
homeward, after riding round his

domains, he perceived from afar, in the windows looking

toward the west, six sons, with dark locks and eagle gaze,
the hope and pride of the family, that might have been
taken for six sculptured knights at the portal of a church.
For ten leagues round, all who wished to quote a happy
father and a powerful lord named the Baron Kerver.
The castle had but twelve windows, and the baron had
thirteen children. The last, the one that had no place,
was a handsome boy of sixteen, by the name of Yvon. As
usual, he was the best beloved. In the morning, at his
departure, and at evening, on his return, the baron always
found Yvon waiting on the threshold to embrace him.
With his hair falling to his waist, his graceful figure, his

wilful air, and his bold bearing, Yvon was beloved by all

the Bretons. At twelve years of age he had bravely at-

tacked and killed a wolf with an ax, which had won him
the name of Fearless. He deserved the title, for never was
there a bolder heart.
One day, when the baron had stayed at home, and was
amusing himself by breaking a lance with his squire, Yvon
entered the armory in a traveling dress, and, bending one
knee to the ground, "My lord and father," said he to the
baron, "I come to ask your blessing. The house of Kerver
is rich in knights, and has no need of a child; it is time for
me to go to seek my fortune. I wish to go to distant
countries to try my strength and to make myself a name."
"You are right, Fearless," replied the baron, more moved
than he wished to appear. "I will not keep you back; I
have no right to do so; but you are very young, my child;
perhaps it would be better for you to stay another year
with us."
"I am sixteen, my father; at that age you had already
fought one of the proudest lords of the country. I have not
forgotten that our arms are a unicorn ripping up a lion,
and our motto, Onward! I do not wish the Kervers to
blush for their last child."
Yvon received his father's blessing, shook hands with
his brothers, embraced his sisters, bid adieu to all the
weeping vassals, and set out with a light heart.
Nothing stopped him on his way. A river appeared, he
swam it; a mountain, he climbed it; a forest, he made his
way through it with the sun for a guide. On the Kerver!"
he cried, whenever he met with an obstacle, and went
straight forward in spite of everything.
For three years he had been roaming over the world in
search of adventures, sometimes conquering, sometimes con-

quered, always bold and gay, when he received an offer to go

to fight the heathen of Norway. To kill unbelievers and
to conquer a kingdom was a double Yvon en-
twelve brave comrades, freighted a ship, and hoisted

from the mainmast a blue standard with the unicorn

and motto of the Kervers.
The sea was calm, the wind fair, and the night serene.
2 5
Yvon, stretched on the deck, watched the stars, and sought
the one which cast its trembling light on his father's castle.
All at once the vessel struck upon a rock; a terrible crash
was heard; the sails fell like tinder; and an enormous wave
burst over the deck and swept away everything upon it.
"On the Kerrer!" cried Yvon, as soon as his head ap-
peared above the water, and he began to swim as tranquilly
as if he had been bathing in the lake of the old castle.

Happily the moon \\as rising. Yvon saw, at a little dis-

tance, a black speck among the silvery waves it was land.

He approached it, not without difficulty, and finally suc-
ceeded in gaming a foothold. Dripping wet, /exhausted
with fatigue, and out of breath, he dragged himself on the
sand, then, without more anxiety, said his prayers and went
to sleep.


In the morning, on awaking, Yvon tried to discover in

what country he had been cast. He saw in the distance a
house as large as a church, with windows fifty feet in height.
He walked a whole day before reaching it, and at last found
himself in front of an immense door, with a knocker so
heavy that it was impossible for a man to lift it.

Yvon took a great stone and began to knock. "Come

in," cried a voice that sounded like the roar of a bull. At
the same instant the door opened, and the little Breton
found himself in the presence of a giant not less than forty
feet in height.

"What is your name, and what do you want here?" said

the giant, taking up Yvon between his thumb and finger
and him from the ground so as to see him better.

"My name is Fearless, and I am seeking my fortune,"

answered Yvon, looking at the monster with an air of

"Well, brave Fearless, your fortune ismade," said the

giant, in a mocking tone. "I am in need of a servant
and I will give you the place. You can go to work directly.
This is the time for leading my sheep to the pasture; you

may clean the stable while I am gone. I shall give you

nothing else to do," added he, bursting into a laugh. "You

see that 1 am a good master. Do your task, and, above all
things, don't prcwl about the house, or it will cost you
your life."

"Certainly I have a good master; the work is not hard,"

thought Yvon, when the giant was gone. "I have plenty
of time to sweep the stable. What shall I do meanwhile to
amuse myself? Shall I look about the house? Since I am
forbidden to do so, it must be because there is something
to see."
He entered the room, and saw a large fireplace in

which a great pot was hanging, suspended from a hook.

The pot was boiling, but there was no fire on the hearth.
"What does this mean?" thought Yvon; -"there is

some mystery here." He cut off a lock of his hair, dipped

it. into the
pot, and took it out all coated with copper.
"Oh, oh!" cried he, "this a new kind of soup; anybody

that swallows it must have an iron-clad stomach."

He went into the next room; there also a pot was sus-

pended from a hook, and boiling without fire. Yvon

dipped a lock of hair into it, and took it out all coated
with silver.

"The broth is not so rich as this in the Kerver kitchen,"

thought he, "but it may have a better taste."
Upon this, he entered the third room. There also a
pot was suspended from a hook, and boiling without fire.
Yvon dipped a lock of hair into it, and took it out all coated
with gold. It shone so brightly that it might have been
mistaken for a sunbeam.
"Good!" cried "In our country the old women

have a saying, 'Everything gets worse and worse'; here

it is just the contrary everything gets better and better.
What shall I find in the fourth room, I wonder diamond
He pushed open the door and saw something rarer than

precious stones. This was a young woman of such marvel-

ous beauty that Yvon, dazzled, fell on his knees at the sight.
"Unfortunate youth!" cried she, in a trembling voice,
"what are you doing here?"
"I belong to the house," answered Yvon; "the giant
took me into his service this morning."
"His service!" repeated the young girl. "May Heaven
preserve you from it!"
"Why so?" said Yvon. "I have a good master; the
work is not hard. The stable once swept, my task is


"Yes, and how will you set to work to sweep it?" said

the lady. "If you sweep it in the usual way, for every fork-
ful of dung that you throw out of the door, ten will come

in at the window. But you what to do. Turn

I will tell

the fork and sweep with the handle, and the dung will

instantly fly out of itself."

"I obey," said Yvon; upon which he sat down by

the young girl and began to talk with her. She was the

daughter of a fairy, whom the wretched giant had made

his Friendship soon springs up between com-

panions in misfortune. Before the end of the day Finette

(for that was the lady's name) and Yvon had already

promised to belong to each other if they could escape from

their abominable master. The difficulty was to find the
Time passes quickly in this kind of talk. Evening was
approaching when Finette sent away her new friend, ad-
vising him to sweep the stable before the giant came home.
Yvon took down the fork and attempted to use it as he
had seen it done at his father's castle. He soon had
enough of it. In less much dung
than a second there was so
in the stable that the poor boy knew not which way to turn.
He did as Finette had bid him; he turned the fork and
swept with the handle, when, behold! in the twinkling of
an eye the stable was as clean as if no cattle had ever
entered it.

The task finished, Yvon seated himself on a bench before

the door of the house. As soon as he saw the giant coming
he lolled back in his seat, crossed his legs, and began to sing
one of his native airs.

'Have you cleaned the stable?" asked the giant, with

a frown.

"Everything is ready, master," answered Yvon, without

troubling himself to move.
"I am
going to see for myself," howled the giant. He
entered the stable grumbling, found everything in order,
and came out furious.
"You have seen my Finette," cried he; "this trick did
not come from your own head."
'What myfinette?" asked Yvon, opening his mouth

and shutting his eyes. "Is it one of the animals that you
have in this country? Show it to me, master."
"Hold your tongue, fool," replied the giant; "you will
see her sooner than you will want to."
The next morning the giant gathered his sheep together
to lead them to the pasture, but before setting out be
ordered Yvon to go in the course of the day in search of his
horse, which was turned out to graze on the mountain.
"After that," said he, bursting into a laugh, "you can rest
all day long. You see that I am a good master. Do your
task; and, above all things, don't prowl about the house
or I will cut off your head."
Yvon winked his eye as the giant left. ''Yes, you are a
good master," said he, between his teeth. "I understand
your tricks; but, in spite of your threats, I shall go into
the house and talk with your Finette. It remains to be
seen whether she will not be more mine than yours."
He ran to the young girl's room. "Hurrah!" cried he;

"I have nothing to do all day but to go to the mountain

after a horse."

"Very well," said Finette. "How will you set to work to

ride him?"
"A fine question," returned Yvon. "As if it was a diffi-

cult thing to ride a horse! I fancy that I have ridden

worse ones than this."
"It is not so easy as you think," replied Fiuette; "but I
will tell you what to do. Take the bit that hangs behind
the stable door, and, when the animal rushes toward you
breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, force it straight
between his teeth; he will instantly become as gentle as a
lamb, and you can do what you please with him."
"I obey," said Yvon; upon which he sat down by

the side of Finette and began to talk with her. They

talked of everything; but, however far their fancy strayed,

they always came back to the point that they were promised
to each other and that they must escape from the giant.
Time passes quickly in this kind of talk.The evening
drew nigh. Yvon had forgotten the horse and the moun-

tain, and Finette was obliged to send him away, advising

him to bring back the animal before his master's arrival.

Yvon took down the bit that was hidden behind the
stable door and hastened to the mountain, when, lo! a
horse almost as large as an elephant rushed toward him
at full gallop, breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils.

Yvon firmly awaited the huge animal, and, the moment he

opened his enormous jaws, thrust between them the bit;
when, lo! the horse instantly became as gentle as a lamb.
Yvon made him kneel down, sprang on his back, and tran-

quilly returned home.

His task finished, Yvon seated himself on the bench
before the door of the house. As soon as he saw the giant
coming, he lolled back in his seat, crossed his legs, and began
to sing one of his native airs.
"Have you brought back the horse?" asked the giant,
with a frown.
"Yes, master," answered Yvon, without taking the
trouble to move. "He is a fine animal and does you
credit. He is gentle, well trained, and as quiet as a lamb.
He is feeding yonder in the stable."
"I am
going to see for myself," howled the giant. He
entered the stable, grumbling, found everything in order,
and came out furious.
''You have seen my Finette," he said; "this trick did
not come from your own head."
"Oh, master," returned Yvon, opening his mouth and
shutting his eyes, "it is the same story over again.
What is this myfinette? Once for all, show me this
"Hold your tongue, fool," returned the giant; "you
will seeher sooner than you will want to."
The third day at dawn the giant gathered his sheep
together to lead them to the pasture; but, before setting
out, he said to

"To-day you must go to the bottomless pit to collect my

rent. After that," continued he, bursting into a laugh,

"you may rest all day long. You see that I am a good
"A good master, so be it," murmured Yvon, "but the
task is none the less hard. I will go and see my Finette,
as the giant says; I have great need of her help to get

through to-day's business."

When Finette had learned what was the task of the day,
"Well," said she, "how will you go to work to do it?"
"I don't know," said Yvon, sadly; "I have never
been to the bottomless pit, and, even if I knew the
way there, I should not know what to ask for. Tell me
what to do."
"Do you see that great rock yonder?" said Finette;
"that isone of the gates of the bottomless pit. Take this

stick, knock three times on the stone, and a demon will

come out streaming with flames, who will ask you how

much you want. Take care to answer, 'No more than I

can carry."
"I will obey," said Yvon; upon which he took a seat by
the side of Finette and began to talk with her. He would
have been there till this tune if the young girl had not sent
him to the great rock, when the evening drew nigh, to
execute the giant's commands.
On reaching the spot pointed out to him, Yvon found a
great block of granite. He struck it three times with the
stick, when, lo! the rock opened and a demon came forth
all streaming with flames.
"What do you want?" he cried.

"I have come for the giant's rent," answered Yvon,

"How much do you want?"
"I never want any more than I can carry," replied the
"It is well for you that you do not," returned the man
in flames. "Enter this cavern and you will find what you
Yvon entered, and opened his eyes wide. Everywhere
he saw nothing but gold, silver, diamonds, carbuncles,
and emeralds. They were as numerous as the sands on
the seashore. The young Kerver filled a sack, threw it

across his shoulder, and tranquilly returned home

His task finished, our Breton seated himself on the bench
before the door of the house. As soon as he saw the giant

coming he lolled back in his seat, crossed his legs, and

began to sing one of his native airs.
"Have you been to the bottomless pit to collect my
rent?" asked the giant, with a frown.
"Yes, master," answered Yvon, without taking the

trouble to stir. 'The sack is right there before your eyes;

you can count it."
"I am going to see lor myself," howled the giant. He
untied the strings of the sack, which was so full that the
gold and silver rolled in all directions.
''You have seen my Finette," he cried; "this trick did
not come from your own head."
"Don't you know but one song?" said Yvon, opening
his mouth and shutting his eyes. "It is the old story,
myfinette, myfinette. Once for all, show me this thing."

"Well, well," roared the giant, with fury, "wait till to-
morrow and you shall make her acquaintance."
"Thank you, master," said Yvon. "It is very good of
you; but I see from your face that you are laughing at me."

The next morning the giant went out without giving
Yvon any orders, which troubled Finette. At noon he
returned without his flock, complaining of the heat and

fatigue, and said to the young girl:

"You will find a child, my servant, at the door. Cut
his throat, put him into the great pot to boil, and call

me when the broth

ready." Saying this, he stretched

himself on the bed to take a nap, and was soon snor-

ing so loudly that it seemed like thunder shaking the

Finette prepared a log of wood, took a large knife, and
called Yvon. She pricked his little finger; three drops of
blood fell on the log.
"That is enough," said Finette; "now help me to fill

the pot."
They threw into it all that they could find old clothes,
old shoes, old carpets, and everything else. Finette then
took Yvon by the hand and led him through the three
antechambers, where she ran in a mold three bullets of
gold, two bullets of silver, and one bullet of copper, after
which they quitted the house and ran toward the sea.
"On the Kerver!" cried Yvon, as soon as he saw himself
in the country. "Explain yourself, dear Finette; what
farce are we playing now?"
"Let us run let us run!" she cried; "if we do not quit
this wretched island before night, it is all over with us."
"On the Kerver!" replied Yvon, laughing, "and down
with the giant!"
When he had snored a full hour, the giant stretched his
limbs, half opened one eye, and cried, "Is it ready?"
"It is just beginning to boil," answered the first drop of
blood on the log.
The giant turned over, and snored louder than ever for
an hour or two longer. Then he stretched his limbs, half
opened one eye, and cried out: "Do you hear me? Is it

almost ready?"
"It is half done," answered the second drop of blood on
the log.
The giant turned over, and slept an hour longer.
he yawned, stretched his great limbs, and cried out, im-
patiently :

"Isn't ready yet?"


"It is ready now," answered the third drop of blood on

the log.
The giant sat up in bed, rubbed his eyes, and looked
around to see who had spoken; but it was in vain to look;
he saw nobody.
"Finette," howled he, "why isn't the table set?"
There was no answer. The giant, furious, sprang out of
bed, seized a ladle, which looked like a caldron with a pitch-
fork for a handle, and plunged it into the pot to taste the

"Finette!" howled he, "you haven't salted it. What
sort of soup is this? I see neither meat nor vegetables."

No; but, in return, he saw his carpet, which had not

quite all boiled to pieces. At this sight he fell into such a
fit he could not keep his feet.
of rage that

"Villains!" said he, "you have played a fine trick on me;

but you shall pay for it."
rushed out with a stick in his hand, and strode along
at such a rate that in a quarter of an hour he discovered the
two fugitives still far from the seashore. He uttered such
a cry of joy that the earth shook for twelve leagues around.
Finette stopped, trembling. Yvon clasped her to his
"On the Kerver!" said he; "the sea is not far off; we
shallbe there before our enemy."
"Here he is! here he is!" cried Finette, pointing to the
giant not a hundred yards off; "we are lost if this charm
does not save us."
She took the copper bullet and threw it on the ground,
"Copper bullet, save us, pray;

Stop the giant on his way."


And behold, the earth cracked apart with a terrific noise,
and an enormous fissure, a bottomless pit, stopped the giant
just as he was stretching out his hand to seize his prey.

"Let us fly!" cried Finette, grasping the arm of Yvon,

who was gazing at the giant with a swaggering air, defying
him to come on.
The giant ran backward and forward along the abyss, like
a bear in his cage, seeking a passage everywhere and finding
none; then, with a furious jerk, he tore up an immense oak
by the roots and flung it across the gap. The branches of
the oak nearly crushed the children as it fell. The giant
seated himself astride the huge tree, which bent under his

weight, and crept slowly along, suspended between heaven

and earth, entangled as he was among the branches. When
he reached the other side, Yvon and Finette were already
on the shore, with the sea rolling before them.
Alas! there was neither bark nor ship. The fugitives
were lost. Yvon, always brave, picked up stones to attack
the giant and to sell his life dearly. Finette, trembling
with fear, threw one of the silver bullets into the sea, saying,

"Silver bullet, bright and pliant,

Save us from this frightful giant."

Scarcely had she spoken the magic words when a beautiful

ship rose from the waves like a swan spreading its white
wings. Yvon and Finette plunged into the sea; a rope
was thrown them by an invisible hand, and when the furi-

ous giant reached the shore the ship was receding rapidly
at full sail, leaving behind it a long furrow of shining foam.
Giants do not like the water. This fact is certified to

by Homer, who knew Polyphemus; and the same obser-

vation will be found in all natural histories worthy of the
name. Finette's master resembled Polyphemus. He roared
with rage when he saw his slaves about to escape him. He
ran hesitatingly along the shore; he flung huge masses of
rock after the vessel, which happily fell by the side of it
and only made great black holes in the water; and, finally,
mad with anger, he plunged head foremost into the sea
and began to swim after the ship with frightful speed. At
each stroke he advanced forty feet, blowing like a whale,
and like a whale cleaving the waves. By degrees he gamed
on his enemies; one more would bring him within

reach of the rudder, and already he was stretching out his

arm to seize it, when Finette threw the second silver bullet
into the sea and cried, in tears,

"Silver bullet, bright and pliant,

Save us from this frightful giant."

forth a
Suddenly from the midst of the foam darted
gigantic swordfish, with a
sword at least twenty feet in
length. It rushed straight toward the giant, who scarcely

had time to dive, chased him under the water, pursued him
on the top of the waves, followed him closely whichever
way he turned, and forced him to flee as fast as he could
to his island, where he landed with the greatest

difficulty, and fell upon the shore dripping, worn out, and
"On the Kerver!" cried Yvon; "we are saved."
"Not yet," said Finette, trembling. "The giant has a
witch for a godmother; I fear that she will revenge on me
the insult offered to her godson. My
art tells me, my dear

Yvon, that you quit

if me
a single instant until you give me

your name in the chapel of the Kervers I have everything

to dread."

"By the unicorn of my ancestors," cried Yvon, "you have

the heart of a hare and not of a hero ! Am I not here? Am
I going toabandon you? Do you believe that Providence
has saved us from the fangs of that monster to wreck us
in port?"
He laughed so gaily that Finette laughed in turn at the
terror that had seized her.


The rest of the voyage passed off admirably. An invis-

ible hand seemed to impel the ship onward. Twenty days
after their departure the boat landed Yvon and Finette
near Kerver Castle. Once on shore, Yvon turned to thank
the crew. No one was there. Both boat and ship had
3 21
vanished under the waves, leaving no trace behind but a
gull on the wing.
Yvon recognized the spot where he had so often gathered
shells and chased the crabs to their holes when a child.

Half an hour's walk would bring him in sight of the towers

of the old castle. His heart beat; he looked tenderly at
Finette and saw, for the first time, that her dress was fan-
tastic and unworthy of a woman about to enter the noble
house of Kerver.
"My dear child," said he, "the baron, my father, is a
noble lord, accustomed to be treated with respect. I can-

not introduce you to him in this gipsy dress; neither is it

fitting that you should enter our great castle on foot like

a peasant. Wait for me a few moments, and I will bring

you a horse and one of my sister's dresses. I wish you to
be received like a lady of high degree. I wish my father
himself to meet you on your arrival, and hold it an honor
to give you his hand."
"Yvon, Yvon," cried Finette, "do not quit me, I beg
you. Once returned to your castle, I know that you will
forget me."
"Forget you!" exclaimed Yvon. "If any one else were
to offer me such an insult I would teach him with my
sword to suspect a Kerver. Forget you, my Finette!
You do not know the fidelity of a Breton."
That the Bretons are faithful no one doubts; but that
they are still more headstrong is a justice that none will
deny them. It was useless for poor Finette to plead in
her most loving tones she was forced to yield.
; She resigned
herself with a heavy heart, and said to Yvon:
"Go without me, then, to your castle, but only stay long
enough to speak to your friends; then go straight to the
stable, and return as soon as possible. You will be sur-
rounded by people; act as if you saw no one, and, above
all, do not eat or drink anything whatever. Should you
take only a glass of water, evil would come upon us
Yvon promised and swore all that Finette asked, but he
smiled in his heart at this feminine weakness. He was sure
of himself and he thought with pride how different a Bre-

ton was from those fickle Frenchmen whose words,

say, are borne away by the first breath of the wind.
On entering the old castle he could scarcely recognize its
dark walls. All the windows were festooned with leaves
and flowers within and without; the courtyard was strewn
with fragrant grass; on one side was spread tables groan-
ing under their weight; on the other, musicians, mounted
on casks, were playing merry airs. The vassals, dressed
hi their holiday attire, were singing and
dancing and danc-
ing and singing. It was a great day of rejoicing at the
castle. The baron himself was smiling. It is true that he
had just married his fifth daughter to the Knight of Ker-
valec. This marriage added another quartering to the
illustrious escutcheon of the Kervers.

Yvon, recognized and welcomed by all the crowd, was in-

stantly surrounded by who embraced him and

his relatives,

shook him by the hand. Where had he been? Where did

he come from? Had he conquered a kingdom, a duchy, or
a barony? Had he brought the bride the jewels of some
queen? Had the fairies protected him? How many rivals
had he overthrown? All these questions were show ered T

upon him without reply. Yvon respectfully kissed his

father's hand, hastened to his sisters' chamber, took two

of their finest dresses, went to the stable, saddled a

pony, mounted a beautiful Spanish jennet, and was

about to quit the castle, when he found his relatives,
friends, and vassals all standing in his way, their glasses
in their hands, ready to drink their young lord's health
and his safe return.

Yvon gracefully thanked them, bowed, and made his way

by degrees through the crowd, when, just as he was about
to cross the drawbridge, a fair-haired lady, with a haughty
and disdainful a stranger to him, a sister of the bride-

groom, perhaps, approached him, holding a pomegranate

in her hand.

"My handsome knight," said she, with a singular smile,

"you surely will not refuse a lady's first request. Taste

this pomegranate, I entreat you. If you are neither hungry
nor thirsty after so long a journey, I suppose at least that
you have not forgotten the laws of politeness."
not refuse this appeal. He was very wrong.
Yvon dared
Scarcely had he tasted the pomegranate when he looked
round him like a man waking from a dream.
"What am doing on this horse?" thought he. "What

means this pony that I am leading? Is not my place hi my

father's house at my sister's wedding? W hy should
I quit

the castle?"
He threw the bridle to one of the grooms, leaped lightly
to the ground, and offered his hand to the fair-haired

lady, who accepted him as her attendant on the spot,

and gave him her bouquet to hold as a special mark of

Before the evening was over there was another betrothed
couple in the castle. Yvon had pledged his faith to the
unknown lady and Finette was forgotten.

Poor Finette, seated on the seashore, waited all day
long for Yvon, but Yvon did not come. The sun was
setting in the fiery waves when Finette rose, sighing, and
took the way to the castle in her turn. She had not
walked long in a steep road, bordered with thorn-trees in
blossom, when she found herself in front of a wretched
hut at the door of which stood an old woman about to
milk her cow. Finette approached her and, making a
low courtesy, begged a shelter for the night.
The old woman looked at the stranger from head to foot.
With her buskins trimmed with fur, her full red petticoat,
her blue jacket edged with jet, and her diadem, Finette
looked more like an Egyptian princess than a Christian.
The old woman frowned and, shaking her fist in the face

of the poor forsaken girl, "Begone, witch!" she cried;

"there is no room for you in this honest house."
"My good mother," said Finette, "give me only a corner
of the stable."

"Oh," woman, laughing and showing the

said the old

only tooth she had left, which projected from her mouth
like a bear's tusk, "so you want a corner of the stable, do

you! "\Yell, you shall have it if you will fill my milk-pail

with gold."
"It is a bargain," said Finette, quietly. She opened a
leather purse which she wore at her belt, took from it a

golden bullet, and threw it into the milk-pail, saying,

"Golden bullet, precious treasure,

Save me, if it be thy pleasure."

And behold ! the pieces of gold began to dance about in the

pail; they rose higher and higher, flapping about like fish in
a net, while the old woman, on her knees, gazed with wonder
at the sight.
When the pail was full the old woman rose, put her arm
through the handle, and said to Finette, "Madam, all is

yours, the house, the cow, and everything else. Hurrah!

Iam going to the town to live like a lady with nothing to do.
Oh dear, how I wish I were only sixty!" And, shaking her
crutch, without looking backward, she set out on a run
toward Kerver Castle.
Finette entered the house. It was a wretched hovel,
dark, low, damp, bad-smelling, and full of dust and spiders'
webs a horrible refuge for a woman accustomed to living
in the giant's grand castle.Without seeming troubled,
Finette went to the hearth, on which a few green boughs
were smoking, took another golden bullet from her purse,
and threw it into the fire, saying,

"Golden bullet, precious treasure,

Save me, if it be thy pleasure."

The gold melted, bubbled up, and spread all over the
house like running water, and behold! the whole cot-
tage, the walls, the thatch, the wooden rocking -
the stool, the chest, the bed, the cow's horns everything,
even to the spiders in their webs, was turned to gold.
The house gleamed in the moonlight, among the trees,
like a star in the night.

When Finette had milked the cow and drank a little new
milk, she threw herself on the bed without undressing, and,
worn out by the fatigue of the day, fell asleep in the midst
of her tears.
Old women do not know how to hold their tongues, at
least in Brittany. Finette's hostess had scarcely reached
the village when she hastened to the house of the steward.
He was an important personage, who had more than once
made her tremble when she had driven her cow into her
neighbor's pasture by mistake. The steward listened to
the old woman's story, shook his head, and said it looked
like witchcraft; then he mysteriously brought a pair of
scales, weighed the guineas, which he found to be genuine
and of full weight, kept as many of them as he could, and
advised the owner to tell no one of this strange adventure.

"If it should come to the ears of the bailiff or the seneschal,"

said he, "the least that would happen to you, mother,
would be to lose every one of these beautiful bright guineas.

Justice is impartial; it knows neither favor nor repugnance;

it takes the whole."
The old woman thanked the steward for his advice, and

promised to follow She kept her word so well that she


only told her story that evening to two neighbors, her

dearest friends, both of whom swore on the heads of their
little children to keep it secret. The oath was a solemn
one, and so well kept that at noon the next day there
was not a boy of six in the village that did not point his

finger at the old woman, while the very dogs seemed to

bark in their language, "Here is the old woman with her
A girl that amuses herself by filling milk-pails with gold
is not to be found every day. Even though she should be
something of a witch, such a girl would none the less be a
treasure in a family. The steward, who was a bachelor,
made this wise reflection that night on going to bed. Before
dawn he rose to make his rounds in the direction of the
stranger's cottage. By the first gleam of day he spied
something shining in the distance like a light among the
woods. On reaching the place, he was greatly surprised
to find a golden cottage instead of the wretched hut that
had stood there the day before. But, on entering the house,
he was much more surprised and delighted to find a beauti-
ful young girl, with raven hair, sitting by the window

and spinning ou her distaff with the air of an empress.

Like all men, the steward did himself justice, and knew,
at the bottom of his heart, that there was not a woman in
the world that would not be too happy to give him her hand.
Without hesitating, therefore, he declared to Finette that
he had come to marry her. The young girl burst out
laughing, upon which the steward flew into a passion.
"Take care!" said he, in a terrible voice. "I am the mas-
ter here. No one knows who you are or whence you came.
The gold that you gave the old woman has raised suspi-
cions. There is magic in this house. If you do not accept
me for a husband very instant, I will arrest you, and

before night, perhaps, a witch will be burned before Kerver

"You are very amiable," said Finette, with a charming

grimace; "you have a peculiar way of paying court to ladies.

Even when they have decided not to refuse, a gallant man
spares their blushes."
"We Bretons are plain-spoken people," replied the stew-
ard; "we go straight to the point. Marriage or prison,
which do you choose?"
"Oh!" cried Finette, laying down the distaff, "there are
the firebrands falling all over the room."
"Don't trouble yourself," said the steward; "I will pick
them up."
"Lay them carefully on the top of the ashes," returned
Finette. "Have you the tongs?"
"Yes," said the steward, picking up the crackling coals.
"Abracadabra!" cried Finette, rising. "Villain, may the
tongs hold you, and may you hold the tongs till sunset!"
No sooner said than done. The wicked steward stood
there day with the tongs in his hand, picking up and

throwing back the burning coals that snapped in his face

and the hot ashes that flew into his eyes. It was useless
for him to shout, pray, weep, and blaspheme; no one

heard him. had stayed at home, she would

If Finette

doubtless have taken pity on him; but after putting the

spell upon him, she hastened to the seashore, where, for-
getting everything else, she watched for Yvon in vain.
The moment that the sun set, the tongs fell from the
steward's hands. He did not stop to finish his errand,
but ran as if the devil or justice were at his heels. He
made such he uttered such groans, he was so black-
ened, scorched, and benumbed, that every one in the
village was afraid of him, thinking that he was mad. The
boldest tried to speak to him, but he fled without
and hid himself in his house, more ashamed than a wolf that
has left his paw in the trap.

At evening, when Finette returned home in despair,

instead of the steward she found another visitor little less

formidable. The bailiff had heard the story of the guineas

and had also made up his mind to marry the stranger.
He was not rough, like the steward, but a fat, good-natured
man that could not speak without bursting into a laugh,

showing his great yellow teeth, and puffing and blowing

like an ox, though at heart he was not less obstinate or less

threatening than his predecessor. Finette entreated the

bailiff to leave her alone. He laughed, and hinted to her,
in a good-natured way, that, by right of his office, he had
the power to imprison and hang people without process of
law. She clasped her hands and begged him with tears
to go. For his only answer, he took a roll of parchment
from his pocket, wrote on it a contract of marriage, and
declared to Finette that, should he stay all night, he would
not leave the house till she had signed the promise.
"Nevertheless," said he, "if you do not like my person,
I have another parchment here on which I will write an

agreement to live apart; and if my sight annoys you you

have only to shut your eyes."
"Why," said Finette, "I might decide to do as you wish
if I were sure of finding a good husband in you; but I arn
"Of what, my dear child?" asked the bailiff, smiling,
and already as proud as a peacock.
"Do you "that a good
think," said she, with a pettish air,

husband would leave that door wide open and not know
that his wife was freezing with cold?"
'You are

right, my dear," said the bailiff; "it was very

stupid in me. I will go and shut it."
"Have you hold of the knob?" asked Finette.

"Yes, my charmer," answered the happy bailiff; "I am

just shutting the door."
"Abracadabra!" cried Finette. "May you hold the door,
villain, and may the door hold you till daybreak."
And behold! the door opened and shut, and slammed
against the walls like an eagle flapping its wings. You
may judge what a dance the poor captive kept up all night.
Never had he and
imagine that he
tried such a waltz, I

never wished to dance a second one of the same sort.

Sometimes the door swung open with him in the street;
sometimes it flew back and crushed him against the wall.
He swung backward and forward, screaming, swearing,
weeping, and praying, but all in vain; the door was deaf,
and Finette asleep.
At daybreak his hands unclasped and he fell in the road
head foremost. Without waiting to finish his errand, he
ran as if the Moors were after him. He did not even turn
round, for fear that the door might be at his heels. Fortu-
nately for him, all were still asleep when he reached the
village, and he could hide himself inbed without any one
seeing his deplorable plight. This was a great piece of
good fortune for him, for he was jcovered with whitewash
from head to foot, and so pale, haggard, and trembling
that he might have been taken for the ghost of a miller

escaped from the infernal regions.

When Finette opened her eyes she saw by her bedside
a tall man dressed in black, with a velvet cap and a sword.
It was the seneschal of the barony of Kerver. He stood
with his arms folded, gazing at Finette in a way that chilled
the very marrow of her bones.
"What is your name, vassal?" said he, in a voice of

Finette, at your service, my lord," replied she, trembling.
"Is this house and furniture yours?"
"Yes, niy lord, everything, at your service."
"I mean that it shall be at my service," returned the

seneschal, sternly. do you the honor to

"Rise, vassal! I

marry you, and to take yourself, your person, and your

property under my guardianship."
"My lord," returned Finette, "this is much too great an
honor for a poor girl like me, a stranger, without friends or
"Be silent, vassal!" replied the seneschal. "I am your
lord and master; I have nothing to do with your advice.
Sign this paper."
"My lord," said Finette, "I don't know how to write."
"Do you think that I do, either?" returned the seneschal,
in a voice that shook the house. "Do you take me for a
clerk? A cross that is the signature of gentlemen."
He made a large cross on the paper, and handed the pen
to Finette.

"Sign," said he. "If you are afraid to make a cross,

infidel, you pass your own death sentence, and I shall take

on myself to execute it." He drew his heavy sword from

the scabbard as he spoke, and threw it on the table.

For her only answer, Finette leaped out of the window

and ran to the stable. The seneschal pursued her thither,
but, on attempting to enter, an unexpected obstacle stopped
him. The frightened cow had backed at the sight of the

young girl, and stood in the doorway, with Finette clinging

to her horns and making of her a sort of buckler.
'You not escape me, sorceress!" cried the seneschal,

and, with a grasp like that of Hercules, he seized the cow

by the tail and dragged her out of the stable.
"Abracadabra!" cried Finette. "May the cow's tail

hold you, villain, and may you hold the cow's tail till you
have both been around the world together."
And behold! the cow darted off like lightning,
the unhappy seneschal after her. Nothing stopped the
two inseparable comrades; they rushed over mountains
and valleys, crossed marshes, rivers, quagmires, and brakes,
glided over the seas without sinking, were frozen in Siberia
and scorched in Africa, climbed the Himalayas, descended
Mont Blanc, and at length, after thirty-six hours of a
journey, the like of which had never been seen, both stopped
out of breath in the public square of the village.
A seneschal harnessed to a co\v 's tail is a sight not to be
seen every day, and the peasants in the neighborhood

crowded together to wonder at the spectacle. But, torn as

he was by the cactuses of Barbary and the thickets of Tar-
tary, the seneschal had lost nothing of his haughty air.
With a threatening gesture he dispersed the rabble, and
limped to his house to taste the repose of which he began
to feel the need.
While the steward, the bailiff,and the seneschal were
experiencing these little unpleasantnesses, of which they
did not think proper to boast, preparations were being

made for a great event at Kerver Castle, namely, the

marriage of Yvon and the fair-haired lady. Two days had

passed in these preparations, and all the friends of the

family had gathered together for twenty leagues round,

when, one fine morning Yvon and his bride, with the Baron
and Baroness Kerver, took their seats in a great carriage
adorned with flowers, and set out for the celebrated church
of St. Maclou.
A hundred knights in full armor, mounted on horses
decked with ribbons, rode on each side of the betrothed
couple, each with his vizor raised and his lance at rest in

token of honor. the side of each baron, a squire, also

on horseback, carried the seigniorial banner. At the head
of the procession rode the seneschal, with a gilded staff
in his hand. Behind the carriage gravely walked the bailiff,

followed by the vassals, while the steward railed at the

serfs,a noisy and curious rabble.
As they were crossing a brook, a league from the castle,
one of the traces of the carriage broke, and they were
forced to stop. The accident repaired, the coachman
cracked his whip, and the horses started with such force
that the new trace broke in three pieces. Six times this

provoking piece of wood was replaced, and six times it

broke anew, without drawing the carriage from the hole
where it was wedged.
Every one had a word of advice to offer; even the peas-
ants, as wheelwrights and carpenters, were not the last to
make a show of their knowledge. This gave the steward
courage; he approached the baron, took off his cap, and,
scratching his head,
'My lord," said he, "in the house that you see shining
yonder among the trees there lives a woman who does
things such as nobody else can do. Only persuade her to
lend you her tongs, and, in my opinion, they will hold till

The baron made a sign, and ten peasants ran to the cot-

tage of Finette, who very obligingly lent them her gold

tongs. They were put in the place of the trace; the coach-
man cracked his whip, and off went the carriage like a

Every one rejoiced, but the joy did not last long. A
hundred steps farther, lo! the bottom of the carriage gave
way; little more, and the noble Kerver family would have
sunk quite out of sight. The wheelwrights and the car-
penters set to work at once; they sawed planks, nailed them
down fast, and in the twinkling of an eye repaired the
accident. The coachman cracked whip and the horses

started, when, bebold! half of the carriage was left behind;

the Baroness Kerver sat motionless by the side of the bride,
while Yvon and the baron were carried off at full gallop.

Here was a new difficulty. Three times was the carriage

mended, three times it broke anew. There was every reason
to believe that it was enchanted.

Every one had a word This gave the

of advice to offer.

bailiff courage. He approached the baron and said, in a

low tone :

"My lord, the house that you see shining yonder


among the trees there lives a woman who does things such
as nobody else can do. Only persuade her to lend you
her door for the bottom of the carriage, and, in my opinion,
it will hold till morning."
The baron made a sign, and twenty peasants ran to the
cottage of Finette, who very obligingly lent them her gold
door. They put it in the bottom of the carriage, where it

fitted as if it had been made expressly for it. The party

took their seats in the carriage, the coachman cracked his

whip, the church was in sight, and all the troubles of the

journey seemed ended.

Not at Suddenly the horses stopped and refused to
all !

draw. There were four of them. Six, eight, ten, twenty-

four more were put to the carriage, but all in vain; it was

impossible to stir them. The more they were whipped the

deeper the wheels sunk into the ground, like the coulter of a
What were they to do? To go on foot would have been a
disgrace. To mount a horse and ride to the church like
simple peasants was not the custom of the Kervers. They
tried to liftthe carriage, they pushed the wheels, they
shook it, they pulled it, but all in vain. Meanwhile the
day was declining and the hour for the marriage had
Every one had a word of advice to offer. This gave the
seneschal courage. He approached the baron, alighted
from his horse, raised his velvet cap, and said :

"My lord, in the house that you see shining yonder among
the trees there lives a woman who does things such as
nobody else can do. Only persuade her to lend you her
cow to draw the carriage, and, in my opinion, she will draw
it till morning."
The baron made a sign, and thirty peasants ran to the
cottage of Finette, who very obligingly lent them her golden-
horned cow.
To go drawn by a cow was not, perhaps, what
to church
the ambitious bride had dreamed of, but it was better than
to remain unmarried in the road. The heifer was harnessed,
therefore, before the four horses, and everybody looked on
anxiously to see what this boasted animal would do.
But before the coachman had time to crack his whip, lo!
the cow started off as if she were about to go around the
world anew. Horses, carriage, baron, betrothed, coach-
man, all were hurried away by the furious animal. In
vain the knights spurred their horses to follow the pair;
in vain the peasants ran at full speed, taking the crossroad
and cutting across the meadows. The carriage flew as if

it had wings; a pigeon could not have followed it.

On reaching the door of the church, the party, a little dis-

turbed by this rapid journey, would not have been sorry to
alight. Everything was ready for the ceremony and the
bridal pair had long been expected; but, instead of stopping,
the cow redoubled her speed. Thirteen times she ran round
the church like lightning, then suddenly made her way in a

straight line across the fields to the castle, with such force
that the whole party were almost shaken to pieces before
their arrival.


No more marriage was to be thought of for that day;

but the tables were set and the dinner served, and the Baron
Kerver was too noble a knight to take leave of his brave
Bretons until they had eaten and drunk according to custom
that is, from sunset till sunrise, and even a little later.

Orders were given for the guests to take their seats.

Ninety-six tables were ranged in eight rows. In front of
them, on a large platform covered with velvet, with a
canopy in the middle, was a table larger than the rest,
and loaded with fruit and flowers, to say nothing of the roast

hares, and the peacocks smoking beneath their plumage.

At this table the bridal pair were to have been seated in
full sight, in order that nothing might be lacking to the
pleasures of the feast, and that the meanest peasant might
have the honor of saluting them by emptying his cup of
hydromel to the honor and prosperity of the high and mighty
house of Kerver.
The baron seated the hundred knights at his table, and

placed their squires behind their chairs to serve them. At

his right he put the bride and Yvon, but he left the seat at

his left vacant, and, calling a page, "Child," said he, "run
to the house of the stranger lady who obliged us only too
much morning. It was not her fault if her success

exceeded her good will. Tell her that the Baron Kerver
thanks her for her help and invites her to the wedding
feast of his son, Lord Yvon."
On reaching the golden house, where Finette, in tears,
was mourning for her beloved, the page bent one knee to the
ground and, in the baron's name, invited the stranger
lady to the castle to do honor to the wedding of Lord
"Thank your master for me," answered the young girl,

proudly, "and tell him that if he is too noble to come to my

house, I am too noble to go to his."
When the page repeated this answer to his master the
Baron Kerver struck the table such a blow that three
plates flew in the air.
"By my honor," said he, "this is spoken likea lady, and
for the first tune I own myself beaten. Quick, saddle my
dun mare, and let my knights and squires prepare to attend
It was with this brilliant train that the baron alighted at

the door of the golden cottage. He

begged Finette's par-
don, held the stirrup for her, and seated her behind him
on his own horse, neither more nor less than a duchess in
person. Through respect, he did not speak a single word
to her on the way. On reaching the castle he uncovered
his head and led her to the seat of honor that he had
chosen for her.
The baron's departure had made a great excitement,
and his return caused still greater surprise. Every one
asked who the lady could be that the baron treated with
such respect. Judging from her costume, she was a for-
eigner. Could she be the Duchess of Normandy or the Queen
of France? The steward, the bailiff, and the seneschal
were appealed to. The steward trembled, the bailiff turned
pale, and the seneschal blushed, but all three were as mute as
fishes. The silence of these important personages added
to the general wonder.
All eyes were fixed on Finette, who felt a deadly chill at
her heart, for Yvon saw, but did not know her. He cast
an indifferent glance at her, then began again to talk in a
tender tone to the fair-haired lady, who smiled disdainfully.
Finette, in despair, took from the purse the golden bullet,
her last hope. While talking with the baron, who was
charmed with her wit, she shook the little ball in her hand,
and repeated, in a whisper,

"Golden bullet, precious treasure,

Save me, if it be thy pleasure."

And behold! the bullet grew larger and larger, until it

became a goblet of chased gold, the most beautiful cup that
ever graced the table of baron or king.
Finette filled the cup herself with spiced wine, and,

calling the seneschal, who was cowering behind her, she

said, in her gentlest tones, "My
good seneschal, I en-
treat you to offer this goblet to Lord Yvon. I wish to

drink his health, and I am sure that he will not refuse

me this pleasure."
Yvon took the goblet, which the seneschal presented to
him on a salver of enamel and gold, with a careless hand,
bowed to the stranger, drank the wine, and, setting the

cup on the table before him, turned to the fair-haired lady

who occupied all his thoughts. The lady seemed anxious
and vexed. He
whispered a few words in her ear that
seemed to please her, for her eyes sparkled, and she placed
her band again in his.
Finette cast down her head and began to weep. All was

"Children," cried the baron, in a voice of thunder, "fill

your glasses. Let us drink to the noble stranger who

honors us with her presence. To the noble lady of the

golden cottage!"
All began to huzzah and drink. Yvon contented himself
with raising his goblet to a level with his eyes. Suddenly
he started and stood mute, his mouth open and his eyes
fixed, like a man that has a vision.
It was a vision.In the gold of the goblet Yvon saw his
past life as in a mirror: the giant pursuing him; Finette

dragging him along; both embarking in the ship that saved

them; both landing on the shore of Brittany; he quitting
her for an instant; she weeping at his departure. Where
w as she?
By his side, of course. What other woman than
Finette could be by the side of Yvon?
Heturned toward the fair-haired lady and cried out
like a man treading on a serpent. Then, staggering as if
he were drunk, he rose and looked around him with haggard
eyes. At the sight of Finette he clasped his trembling
hands and, dragging himself toward her, fell on his knees

and exclaimed, "Finette, forgive me!"

To forgive is Before evening
the height of happiness.
Finette was seated by the side of Yvon, both weeping and

And what became of the fair-haired lady? No one knows.
At the cry of Yvon she disappeared but it was said that a

wretched old hag was seen flying on a broomstick over the

castle walls, chased by the dogs; and it was the common
opinion among the Kervers that the fair-haired lady was
none other than the witch, the godmother of the giant. I
am not sure enough of the fact, however, to dare warrant
it. It is always prudent to believe, without proof, that a
woman may be a witch, but it is never wise to say so.
What I can say on the word of a historian is that the feast,
moment, went on gayer than ever. Early
interrupted for a
the next morning they went to the church, where, to the joy
of his heart, Yvon married Finette, who was no longer
afraid of evil spirits; after which they ate, drank, and
danced for thirty-six hours, without any one thinking of
resting. The steward's arms were a little heavy, the
bailiff rubbed back at times, and the seneschal felt a
sort of weariness in his limbs, but all three had a weight on
their consciences which they could not shake off, and which
made them tremble and flutter, till finally they fell on the

ground and were carried off. Finette took no other ven-

geance on them; her only desire was to render all happy
around her, far and near, who belonged to the noble house
of Kerver. Her memory
still lives in Brittany; and
among the ruins of the old castle, any one will show you
the statue of the good lady, with five bullets in her hand.
upon a time there lived at Salerno

a poor old woman who earned her

bread by fishing, and whose only comfort and stay
in life was her grandson, a boy twelve years of age,

whose father had been drowned in a storm and whose

mother had died of grief. Graceful, for this was the
child'sname, loved nobody in the world but his grand-
mother; he followed her to the shore every morning
before daybreak to pick up the shell-fish or draw the
net to the beach, longing for the time when he should
be strong enough to go to sea himself and brave the
waves that had swallowed up all his kindred. He was
so handsome, so well made, and so promising, that no
sooner had he entered the town with his basket of fish

on head than every one ran after him, and he sold the

whole before he reached the market.

Unfortunately, the grandmother was very old; she had
but one front tooth left, her head shook with age, and her
eyes were dim. Every morning she found it harder to rise
than the day before. Feeling that she had but a few days
longer to live, at night, before Graceful wrapped himself
in his blanket and lay down on the ground to sleep, she

always gave him good counsels for him to follow when she
was gone; she told him what fishermen to avoid, and how,
by being good and industrious, prudent and resolute, he
would make his way in the world and finally have a boat
and nets of his own. The poor boy paid little heed to all

this wisdom. As soon as his grandmother began to put

on a grave air he threw his arms around her neck and cried :

"Grandmamma, grandmamma, don't leave me. I have

hands, I am strong, I shall soon be able to work for us both;

but you were not here at night when

if I came home from
fishing, what would become of me?"

"My child," said the old woman one day to him, "I shall

not leave you so much alone as you think; when I am gone

you will have two powerful protectors whom more than
one prince might envy you. A long time ago T did a favor to
two great ladies, who will not forget you when the time
comes to call them, which will be very soon."
"Who are these two ladies?" asked Graceful, who had
never seen any women but fishermen's wives in the hut.

"They are two fairies," replied his grandmother "two

powerful fairies the Fairy of the Woods and the Fairy of
the Waters. Listen to me, my child; I am going to intrust

you with a secret a secret which you must keep as care-

fully as I have done, and which will give you wealth and

happiness. Ten years ago, the same year that your father
died and your mother also left us, I went out one morning
before daybreak to surprise the crabs asleep in the sand.
As was stooping down, hidden by a rock, I saw a king-

fisher slowly floating toward the beach. The kingfisher

is a sacred bird which should always be respected; knowing
this, I let it alight and did not stir, for fear of frightening

it. At the same moment I saw a beautiful green adder

come from a cleft of the mountain and crawl along the sand
toward the bird. When
they were near each other, without
either seeming surprised at the meeting, the adder coiled
itself around the neck of the kingfisher, as if tenderly em-

bracing they remained thus entwined for a few moments,


after which they suddenly separated, the adder to return

to the rock, and the kingfisher to plunge into the waves
which bore it away.
"Greatly astonished at what I had seen, I returned the
next morning at the same hour, and at the same hour the
kingfisher also alighted on the sands and the adder came
from There was no doubt that they were fairies,
its retreat.

perhaps enchanted fairies, to whom I could render a service.

But what was I to do? To show myself would have been
to displease them and run into danger; it was better to

wait for a favorable opportunity which chance would doubt-

less offer. For a whole month I lay in ambush, witnessing
the same spectacle every morning, when one day I saw a
huge black cat arrive first at the place of meeting and hide
itselfbehind a rock, almost under my hand. A black cat
could be nothing else than an enchanter, according to what
I had learned in my childhood, and I resolved to watch him.

Scarcely had the kingfisher and the adder embraced each

other when, behold! the cat gathered itself up and sprang

upon these innocents. It was my turn to throw myself

upon the wretch, who already held his victims in his mur-
derous claws; I seized him, despite his struggles, although
he tore my hands in pieces, and without pity, knowing
with whom I had to deal, I took the knife which I used
to open shell-fish, and cut off the monster's head, claws,
and tail, confidently awaiting the success of my devotion.
"I did not wait long; no sooner had I thrown the body of
the animal into the sea than I saw before me two beautiful

ladies, one crowned with white plumes, the other with a

shoulder. They
serpent's skin thrown like a scarf across her
were, as I have already told you, the Fairy of the Waters
and the Fairy of the Woods, who, enchanted by a wretched
genie who had learned their secret, had
been forced to
remain a kingfisher and an adder until freed by some
generous hand, and who owed me their power
and freedom.
"Ask of us what you will,' said they, 'and your request
shall be instantly granted.'
"I reflected that I was old, and had suffered too much in
life to wish to begin
anew, while the day would come, my

child, when nothing would be too great for your desires;

when you wish to be rich, noble a general, a marquis, a
prince, perhaps! When that day comes, thought I, I can

give him everything, and a single moment of such happi-

ness will repay me for eighty years of pain and misery. I
thanked the fairies, therefore, and entreated them to keep
their good will till the day when I should have need of it.
The Fairy of the Waters took a small feather from her crown,
and the Fairy of the Woods detached a scale from her scarf.
''My good woman,' said they, 'when you wish for us,
place this feather and this scale in a vessel of pure water
and call on us, making a wish. Should we be at the end
of the world, we will be at your side in an instant, ready
to pay the debt we owe you.'
"I bowed my head in token of gratitude. Wlien I raised
had vanished; even the wounds and blood had disap-
it all

peared from my hands, and I should have thought that I

had been dreaming, had not the scale of the serpent and
the feather of the kingfisher remained in my hand."
"And where are these treasures, grandmamma?" asked

"My child, I have carefully concealed them," answered

the old woman, "not wishing to show them to you till you
were a man and able to make use of them; but since
death is about to separate us, the moment has come to give
you these precious talismans. You will find at the back
of the cupboard a wooden chest hidden under some rags;
in the chest is a little pasteboard box, wound about with
tow; open this box and you will find the scale and the
feather carefully wrapped in cotton. Take care not to
break them; handle them respectfully, and I will tell you
what next to do."
Graceful brought the box to the poor woman, who was
no longer able to quit her pallet, and she herself took from
it the two articles.

"Now," said she, giving them to her grandson, "put a

bowlful of water in the middle of the room; place the scale
and the feather in the water, and make a wish wish for
fortune, nobility, wit, power, whatever you please; only,
as I feel that I am dying, kiss me once more, my child,
before speaking the words that will separate us forever,
and receive my last blessing; it will be another talisman
to bring you happiness."
But, to the old woman's surprise, Graceful did not come
near her, either to kiss her or to receive her blessing. He
quickly placed the bowl in the middle of the room, threw
the feather and scale into the water, and shouted at the

top of his voice, "Appear, Fairy of the Waters! I wish

that my grandmother may live forever. Appear, Fairy of
theWoods I wish that my grandmother may live forever."

And behold! the water bubbled, bubbled, bubbled; the

bowl grew to a great basin, which the walls of the hut could
scarcely hold, and from the bottom of the basin Graceful
saw two beautiful young women rise, whom he knew directly
from their wands to be fairies. One wore a crown of holly
leaves mixed with red berries, and diamond ear-rings

resembling acorns in their cups; she was dressed in a robe

of olive green, over which a speckled skin was knotted like

a scarf across the right shoulder was the Fairy of the


Woods. As to the Fairy of the Waters, she wore a garland

of reeds on her head, with a white robe trimmed with the
feathers of aquatic birds, and a blue scarf, which now and
then rose above her head and fluttered like the sail of a

ship. Great ladies as they were, they looked smilingly at

Graceful, who had taken refuge in his grandmother's arms,
and trembled with fear and admiration.
"Here we are, my child," said the Fairy of the Waters,
who spoke first, as the eldest. We
have heard what you
said, and your wish does you honor; but, though we can

help you in the plan which you have conceived, you alone
can execute it. We can, prolong your grand-
mother's life for some time, but, for her to live forever,

you must go the Castle of Life, four long days' journey

from here, on the coast of Sicily. There you will find the
Fountain of Immortality. you can accomplish each of

these four days' journey without turning aside from the

road, and, on reaching the castle, can answer three questions
that will be put to you by an invisible voice, you will obtain
what you desire. But, my child, reflect well before under-
taking this adventure, for you will meet more than one
danger on the way; and if you fail a single time to reach
the end of your day's journey you will not only miss the
object of your pursuit, but you will never quit the country,
from which none has ever returned."
"I will go, madam," returned Graceful.
But you are very young, my child," said the Fairy of the

Woods, "and you do not even know the way."

"No matter," replied Graceful. "I am sure, beautiful
ladies, that you will not forsake me, and to save my grand-
mother would go to the end of the world."

"Wait," said the Fairy of the Woods. Then separating

the lead from a broken window-pane, she placed it in the
hollow of her hand.
behold! the lead began to melt and bubble without

seeming to burn the fairy, who threw the metal on the

hearth, where it cooled in a thousand different forms.
"What do you see in all that?" said the fairy to Graceful.
"It seems to me, madam," said he, after looking atten-
tively, "that I see a spaniel with a long tail and large ears."
"Call him," said the fairy.
5 53
barking was instantly heard, and forth from the metal
sprang a black and flame-colored spaniel, which began to
gambol and leap around Graceful.
"This will be your companion," said the fairy. "His
name is Fido. He will show you the way; but I warn you
that it isyou to direct him, and not for him to lead you.

If you make him obey, he will serve you; if you obey him,
he will destroy you."
"And I," said the Fairy of the Waters, "have I nothing
to give you, my
poor Graceful?"
Then, looking around her, the lady saw on the ground
a bit of paper, which she tossed into the fire with her tiny
foot. The paper caught fire, and as soon as the blaze
had died away thousands of little sparks were seen chasing
one another about. The fairy watched these sparks with a
curious eye; then, as the last one was about to go out,
she blew upon the cinders, when, lo! the chirp of a bird
was heard, and a swallow rose, which fluttered, terrified,
about the room and finally alighted on Graceful's shoulder.
"This be your companion," said the Fairy of the
Waters. Her name is Pensive. She will show you the way;
but I warn you it is for you to direct her, and not for her
to lead you. If you make her obey, she will serve you; if

you obey her, she will destroy you."

"Stir the black ashes," added the good Fairy of the
Waters, "and perhaps you will find something there."
Graceful obeyed. Under the ashes of the paper he found
a vial of rock crystal, sparkling like a diamond. This, the

fairy said, was to hold the water of immortality, which

would break any vessel made by the hand of man. By the
side of the vial Graceful found a dagger with a triangular
blade a very different thing from the stiletto of his father
the fisherman, which he had been forbidden to touch.
With this weapon he could brave the proudest enemy.
"My sister, you shall not be more generous than I," said
the other fairy; then, taking a rush from the only chair
in the room, she blew upon it, when, lo! the rush instantly

swelled, and in less time than it takes to tell it became a

beautiful musket, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. A second
rush produced a cartridge-box, which Graceful slung around
his body and which became him marvelously. One would
have thought him a prince setting out for the chase; he was
so handsome that his grandmother wept for joy and emotion.
The two fairies Graceful kissed the good old
woman, urging her to await his return, and knelt before her
to receive her blessing. She entreated him to be patient,
just, and charitable, and, above all, not to wander from the
right path. Not for my sake," added the old woman, "for
I would gladly welcome death, and I regret the wish that
you have made, but for your own, my child, that you may
return to me and that I may not die without your being
here to close my eyes."
It was late. Graceful threw himself on the ground, too

agitated, it seemed, to sleep. But slumber soon overtook

him, and he slept soundly all night, while his poor grand-
mother watched the face of her dear child lighted by the
flickering lamp, and did not weary of mournfully admiring

Early in the morning, when dawn was scarcely breaking,

the swallow began to twitter, and Fido to pull the blankets.
"Let us go, masterus go," said the two companions,

in their language, which Graceful understood by the gift of

the fairies; "the tide is already rising on the beach, the

birds are singing, the flies are humming, and the flowers
are opening in the sun. Let us go; it is time."
Graceful kissed his grandmother for the last time, and
took the road to Psestum, Pensive fluttering to the right
and the left inpursuit of the flies, and Fido fawning on
his young master or running before him.
They had gone two leagues from the town when Grace-
ful saw Fido talking with the ants, who were marching in

regular troops, carrying all their provisions with them.

"Where are you going?" asked he.

"To the Castle of Life," they answered.

A little farther on Pensive encountered the grasshoppers,

who had also set out on a journey, together with the bees
and the butterflies; all were going to the Castle of Life,
to drink of the Fountain of Immortality. They traveled
in company, people following the same road. Pensive

introduced Graceful to a young butterfly that chatted

agreeably. Friendship springs up quickly in youth; in an

hour the two comrades were inseparable.
To go straight forward does not suit the taste of butter-
and Graceful's friend was constantly losing himself

among the grass. Graceful, who had never been free in

his life, nor had seen so many flowers and so much sunshine,
followed the windings of his companion, and troubled

himself no more about the day than if it were never to end;

but, after a few leagues' journey his new friend began to be

"Don't go any farther," said he to Graceful. "See how
beautiful is this landscape, how fragrant these flowers, and
how balmy Let us stay here; this is life."
these fields.

"Let us go on," said Fido; "the day is long, and we are

only at the beginning."
"Let us go on," said Pensive; "the sky is clear and the
horizon unbounded. Let us go on."
Graceful, restored to his senses, reasoned sagely with the
butterfly, who fluttered constantly to the right and
the left,

but all in vain. "What matters it to me?" said the insect.

" be nothing.
Yesterday I was a caterpillar, to-night I shall
I will enjoy to-day." And he settled on a full-blown
Psestum rose. The perfume was so strong that the poor
butterfly was suffocated. Graceful vainly endeavored to
recall him to life; then, bemoaning his fate, he fastened him
with a pin to his hat like a cockade.
Toward noon the grasshoppers stopped in turn. Let us
rest," said they; "the heat will overpower us if we struggle
against the noonday sun. It is so pleasant to live in sweet

repose! Come, Graceful, we will divert you and you shall

sing with us."

"Listen to them," said Pensive; "they sing so sweetly!"
But Fido would not stop; his blood seemed on fire, and he
barked so furiously that Graceful forgot the grasshoppers
to follow his importunate companion.
At evening Graceful met the honey-bee loaded with booty.
"Where are you going?" said he.
"I amreturning home," said the bee; "I shall not quit
my hive."
"What!" rejoined Graceful; "industrious as you are, will
you do like the grasshoppers and renounce your share in

"Your castle is too far off," returned the bee. "I have
not your ambition. My daily labor suffices for me; I care

nothing for your travels; to me work is life."

Graceful was a little moved at losing so many of his

fellow-travelers on the first day; but when he thought

with what ease he had accomplished the first day's journey
his heart was filled with joy. He caressed Fido, caught
the flies which Pensive took from his hand, and slept full
of hope, dreaming of his grandmother and the two fairies.


The next morning, at daybreak, Pensive called her young

"Let us go," already rising on the
said she; "the tide is

shore, the birds are singing, the bees are humming, and the
flowers are opening in the sun. Let us go; it is time."
"Wait a moment," said Fido. 'The day's journey is

not long; before noon we shall be in sight of the temples

of Paestum, where we are to stop for the night."
"The ants are already on the way," returned Pensive;
"the road is harder than yesterday, and the weather more
uncertain. Let us go."
Graceful had seen his grandmother smiling on him in his
dreams, and he set out on his way with even greater ardor
than the day before. The morning was glorious; on the
right the blue waves broke with a gentle murmur on the
strand; on the left, in the distance, the mountains were
tinged with a roseate hue; the plain was covered with tall
grass sprinkled with flowers; the road was lined with aloes,

jujubes, and acanthuses, and before them lay a cloudless

horizon. Graceful, ravished with hope and pleasure, fancied
himself already at the end of his journey. Fido bounded
over the fields and chased the frightened partridges; Pen-
sive soared in the air and sported with the light. All at

once Graceful saw a beautiful doe in the midst of the reeds,

looking at him with languishing eyes as if she were calling

him. He went toward her; she bounded forward, but
only a little way. Three times she repeated the same trick,

as if to allure him on.

"Let us follow her," said Fido. "I will cut off the way
and we will soon catch her."
"Where is Pensive?" said Graceful.
"What does itmatter?" replied Fido; "it is the work of
an instant. Trust to me I was born for the chase and
the doe is ours."
Graceful did not let himself be bid twice. While Fido
made a circuit he ran after the doe, which paused among
the trees as if to suffer herself to be caught, then bounded
forward as soon as the hand of the pursuer touched her.
"Courage, master!" cried Fido, as he came upon her. But
with a toss of the head, the doe flung the dog in the air, and
fled swifter than the wind.

Graceful sprang forward in pursuit. Fido, with burning

eyes and distended jaws, ran and yelped as if he were mad.
They crossed ditches, brakes, and hedges, unchecked by

nothing. The wearied doe lost ground. Graceful re-

doubled his ardor, and was already stretching out his hand
to seize his prey when all at once the ground gave way
beneath his feet and he fell, with his imprudent companion,
into a pit covered over with leaves. He had not recovered
from his fall when the doe, approaching the brink, cried,
You are betrayed ; I am the wife of the King of the Wolves,
who is coming to eat you both." Saying this, she dis-

"Alas! master," said Fido, "the fairy was right in advis-
ing you not to follow me. We have acted foolishly and I

have destroyed you."

"At all events," said Graceful, "we will defend our lives";
and, taking his musket, he double-loaded it, in readiness for

the King of the Wolves; somewhat calmed, he ex-

amined the deep ditch into which he had fallen. It was
too high for him to escape from it; in this hole he must
await his death. Fido understood the look of his friend.
" "
Master," said he, if you take me in your arms and throw
me with all
your might, perhaps I can reach the top; and,
once there, I can help you."
Graceful had riot much
hope. Three times he endeavored
to throw Fido, and three times the poor animal fell back;

finally, at the fourth effort, he caught hold of some roots,

and aided himself and paws that he
so well with his teeth

escaped from the tomb. He instantly threw into the ditch

the boughs which he found about the edge.
"Master," said he, "plant these branches in the earth
and make yourself a ladder. Quick! quick!" he added.
"I hear the howls of the King of the Wolves."
Graceful was adroit and agile. Anger redoubled his
strength; in a moment he was outside. Then he secured
changed the powder in the pan of his
his dagger in his belt,

musket, and, placing himself behind a tree, awaited the

enemy with firmness.

Suddenly a frightful crywas heard, and an animal, with

tusks like those of the wild boar, rushed on him with pro-

digious bounds. Graceful took aim and fired. The bullet

hit themark and the animal fell back howling, but instantly
sprang forward anew. "Load your musket again! Make
haste!" cried Fido, springing courageously in the face of the
monster and seizing his throat with his teeth.
The wolf had only to shake his head to fling the poor dog
to the ground. He would have swallowed him at one
mouthful had not Fido glided from his jaws, leaving one
of his ears behind. It was Graceful's turn to save his com-
panion; he boldly advanced and fired his second shot,
taking aim at the shoulder. The wolf fell; but, rising,
with a last effort he threw himself on the hunter, who fell

under him. On receiving this terrible shock, Graceful

thought himself lost; but without losing courage, and
calling the good fairies to his aid, he seized his dagger and
thrust it into the heart of the animal, which, ready to devour
his enemy, straightened his limbs and died.

Graceful rose, covered with blood and froth, and seated

himself, trembling, upon a fallen tree. Fido crept painfully
to his feet, without daring to caress him, for he felt how
much he was to blame.

"Master," said he, "what will become of us? Night is

approaching and we are so far from Paestum!"
"We must go," said the child, and he rose; but he
was so weak that he was obliged to sit down again.
A burning thirst devoured him; he was feverish and

everything whirled before his eyes. He thought of

his grandmother, and began to weep. What was poor
Graceful's remorse for having so soon forgotten such
fair promises, and condemned himself to die in a coun-

try from which there was no return, and all this for
the bright eyes of a doe! How sadly ended the day so
well begun!
Sinister howls were soon heard ; the brothers of the King
of the Wolves were calling him and coming to his aid.
Graceful embraced Fido, his only friend, and forgave him
the imprudence for which they were both about to pay
with their lives; then loaded his musket, offered up a
prayer to the good fairies, commended his grandmother to
them, and prepared to die.
"Graceful! Graceful! where are you?" cried a little voice
that could be none other than Pensive's, and the swallow

alighted on the head of her master.

"Courage!" said she; "the wolves are still far off. There
is a spring close by where you can quench your thirst and
stanch your bleeding wounds, and I have found a hidden
path which will lead us to Paestum."
Graceful and Fido dragged themselves along to the brook,
trembling with hope and fear; then entered the obscure
path, a reanimated by the soft twittering of Pensive.

The sun had set; they walked in the twilight for some
hours, and, when the moon they were out of danger.

They had still to journey over a painful and dangerous road

for those who no longer had the ardor of the morning.
There were marshes to cross, ditches to leap, and thickets
to break through, which tore Graceful's face and hands;
but at the thought that he could still repair his fault and
save his grandmother his heart was so light that his strength
redoubled at every step with his hope. At last, after a
thousand obstacles, they reached Psestum just as the stars
marked midnight.
Graceful threw himself on the pavement of the temple of

Neptune, and, after thanking Pensive, fell asleep, with Fido

at his feet, wounded, bleeding, and silent.


The sleep was not Graceful was up before day-

break, which seemed long in coming. On descending the
steps of the temple he saw the ants, who had raised a heap
ofsand and were bringing grain from the new harvest. The
whole republic was in motion. The ants were all going or
coming, talking to their neighbors, and receiving or giving
orders; some were dragging wisps of straw, others were car-

rying bits of wood, others conveying away dead flies, and

others heaping up provisions; it was a complete winter
"What!" said Graceful to the ants, "are you not going to
the Castle of Life? Do you
renounce immortality?"
"We have worked long enough," answered one of the
laborers; "the time for harvest has come. The road is long
and the future uncertain, and we are rich. Let fools count
on to-morrow the wise man uses to-day. When a person has

hoarded riches honestly it is true philosophy to enjoy them."

Fido thought that the ant was right; but, as he no longer
dared advise, he contented himself with shaking his head as
they set out. Pensive, on the contrary, said that the ant
was a selfish fellow, and that, were made only for
if life

enjoyment, the butterfly was wiser than he. At the same

time, and with a lighter wing than ever, the swallow soared
upward to lead the way.
Graceful walked on in silence. Ashamed of the follies

of the day before, although he still regretted the doe, he

resolved that on the third day nothing should turn him
aside from the road. Fido, with his mutilated ear, limped
after his master and seemed not less dreamy than he. At
noon they sought for a shady place in which to rest for a
few moments. The sun was less scorching than the day
before. It seemed as if both country and season had
changed. The road lay through meadows lately mown
for the second time, or beautiful vineyards full of grapes,
and was lined with great fig-trees laden with fruit, in which
thousands of insects were humming; golden clouds were
floating in the horizon, the air was soft and gentle, and
everything tempted to repose.
In the most beautiful of the meadows, by the side of a
brook which diffused its coolness afar, Graceful saw a herd
of buffaloes chewing the cud under the shade of the ashes
and plane-trees. They were lazily stretched on the ground,
in a circle around a large bull that seemed their chief and
king. Graceful approached them, and was received with
politeness. They invited him by a nod to be seated, and
pointed out to him great bowls full of milk and cheese.
Our traveler admired the calmness and gravity of these
peaceful and powerful animals, which seemed like so many
Roman senators in their curule chairs. The gold ring
which they wore in their noses added still more to the

majesty of their aspect. Graceful, who felt calmer and

more sedate than the day before, thought, in spite of him-
self, how pleasant it would be to live in the midst of this

peace and plenty; if happiness were anywhere, it must

surely be found here.
Fido shared his master's opinion. It was the season of
the southward migration of the quails; the ground was cov-
ered with tired birds, resting to regain strength before cross-

ing the sea, and Fido had only to stoop down to find game
worthy of a prince. Satiated with eating, he stretched him-
self at Graceful's feet and slept soundly.
When the buffaloes had finished chewing their cud,
Graceful, who had hitherto feared to disturb them, entered
into conversation with the bull, who showed a cultivated
mind and wide experience.
"Are you the masters of this rich domain?" asked he.

"No," replied the old buffalo; "we belong, with all the
the Fairy Crapaudine, the Queen of the Vermilion
rest, to

Towers, the richest of all the fairies."

"What does she require of you?" asked Graceful.

"Nothing, except to wear this gold ring in the nose and

to pay her a tribute of milk," returned the bull, "or, at
most, to give her one of our children from time to time to
regale her guests. At this price we enjoy our plenty in
perfect security, and we have no reason to envy any on
earth, for none are so happy as we."
"Have you never heard of the Castle of Life and the
Fountain of Immortality?" asked Graceful, who, without
knowing why, blushed as he put the question.
"There were some old men among our ancestors who still
talked of these visions," replied the bull; "but we are wiser
than our fathers ;
we know that there is no other happiness
than to chew the cud and sleep."
Graceful rose sadly to resume his journey, and asked
what were those reddish square towers which he saw in
the distance.

"They are the Vermilion Towers," returned the bull;

"they bar the way; and you must pass through the castle
of the Fairy Crapaudine in order to continue your road.
You will see the fairy, my young friend, and she will
offer you hospitality and riches. Take my advice and
do like those that have gone before you, all of whom
accepted the favors of our mistress, and found that they
had done well to abandon their dreams in order to live
"And what became of them?" asked Graceful.
"They became buffaloes like us," rejoined the bull, who,
not having finished his afternoon nap, closed his eyes and
fell asleep.
Graceful started and awakened Fido, who

He called Pensive. Pensive did not answer; she was talk-

ing with a spider that had spun a great web between the
branches of an ash-tree, which was glittering in the sun, full
of flies. "Why take this long journey?" said the spider to
the swallow. "What is the use of changing your climate
and putting your life at the mercy of the sea, the weather,

or a master? Look at me; I depend on nobody, and have

everything for myself. I am my own mistress; I enjoy

my art and genius; I bring the world to me; nothing can

disturb either my calculations, or a serenity which I owe
to myself alone."
Graceful called Pensive three times without making her
hear, so completely was she engrossed in admiration of her
new Every instant some giddy fly fell into the web,

and each time the spider, like an attentive hostess, offered

the prey to her astonished companion, when suddenly a
breeze passed a breeze so light that it did not ruffle a
feather of the swallow's wing. Pensive looked for the
spider; web had been swept away by the winds, and
the poor insect was clinging by one foot to the last thread,
when a bird seized it and bore it away.

Setting out again on their way, they proceeded in silence

to the palace of Crapaudine. Graceful was introduced
with great ceremony by two beautiful greyhounds, capari-
soned with purple and wearing on their necks broad collars
sparkling with rubies. After crossing a great number of
halls, all full of pictures, statues, gold, and silver, and coffers

overflowing with money and jewels, Graceful and his com-

panions entered a circular temple, which was Crapaudine's
drawing-room. The walls were of lapis-lazuli, and the
ceiling, of sky-blue enamel, was supported by twelve
chiseled pillars of massive gold, with capitals of acanthus
leaves of white enamel edged with gold. A huge frog,
6 69
as large as a rabbit, was seated in a velvet easy -chair. It

was the fairy of the place. The charming Crapaudine

was draped in a scarlet mantle covered with glittering
spangles, and wore on her head a ruby diadem whose luster
lighted up her fat cheeks mottled with green and yellow.
As soon as she perceived Graceful she extended to him her
fingers,covered with rings, which the poor boy was obliged
respectfully to raise to his lips as he bowed.
"My friend," said the fairy to him, in a hoarse voice,
which she vainly tried to soften, "I was expecting you, and
I will not be less generous to you than my sisters have been.

On the way here you have seen but a small part of my

riches. This palace, with its pictures, its statues, and its

coffers full of gold, these vast domains, and these innumer-

able flocks, all may be you wish; it depends only
yours if

on yourself to become the richest and happiest of men."

"What must I do for this?" asked Graceful, greatly
"Less than nothing," replied the fairy; N "chop me up
into little pieces and eat me. It is not a very disagreeable

thing to do," added Crapaudine, looking at Graceful with

eyes redder than usual.
"Can not season you, at least?" said Graceful, who

had been unable to look without envy at the beautiful

gardens of the fairy.
No, you must eat me without seasoning; but walk about
my palace, see and handle all my treasures, and reflect that,

by giving rne this proof of devotion, they will all be yours."

"Master," sighed Fido, in a supplicating voice, "a little
courage! We are so comfortable here!"
Pensive said nothing, but her silence was consent. As to
Graceful, who remembered the buffaloes and the gold ring,
he distrusted the fairy. Crapaudine perceived it.

"Do not think, my dear Graceful, that I wish to deceive

you," she said. "In offering you all that I possess, I also
demand you a service which I will reward as it deserves.

When you have done what I propose I shall become a young

girl, as beautiful as Venus, except that my hands and feet

will remain like those of a frog, which is very little when

one is rich. Ten princes, twenty marquises, and thirty

counts have already begged me to marry them as I am when ;

I become a woman, I will give you the preference, and we

will enjoy vast fortune together. Do not blush for

your poverty; you have about you a treasure that is worth
all mine, the vial which my sister gave you." Saying this,
she stretched out her slimy fingers to seize the talisman.
"Never!" cried Graceful, shrinking back, "never! I wish
neither repose nor fortune; I wish to quit this place and to

go to the Castle of Life."

"You shall never go there!" exclaimed the fairy, in a
rage. The castle instantly disappeared, a circle of fire

surrounded Graceful, and an invisible clock began to strike

midnight. At the first stroke the child started; at the
second, without hesitating, he plunged headlong into the
flames. To die for hisgrandmother seemed to him the
only means of showing his love and repentance.


To Graceful's surprise, the flames parted without touch-

ing him, and he suddenly found himself in a new country,

with his two companions by his side. This country was
no longer Italy, but Russia, the end of the earth. He was
wandering on a mountain covered with snow. Around him
he saw nothing but great trees, coated with hoar-frost
and dripping water from all their branches; a damp and
penetrating mist chilled him to the bones; the moist earth
sank under his feet; and, to crown his wretchedness, it

was necessary to descend a steep precipice, at the bottom

of which a torrent was breaking noisily over the rocks.
Graceful took his dagger and cut a branch from a tree to

support his faltering steps. Fido, with his tail between

his legs, barked feebly; and Pensive, her ruffled feathers

covered with clung to her master's shoulder. The


poor bird was half dead, but she encouraged Graceful and
did not complain.

When, after infinite pains, he reached the foot of the

mountain, Graceful found a river filled with enormous
icebergs, striking against one another and whirling in the
current, and this river he must cross, without bridge,
without boat, and without aid.
"Master," said Fido, "I can go no farther. Accursed be
the fairy that drew me from nothingness to place me in
your service." Saying this, he lay down on the ground
and would not stir. Graceful vainly tried to restore his
courage, and called companion and friend. All
him his

that the poor dog could do was to answer his master's

caresses for the last time by wagging his tail and licking
his hands; then his limbs stiffened and he expired.

Graceful took Fido on his back in order to carry him

to the Castle of Life, and boldly climbed one of the icebergs,
still followed by Pensive. Withhe pushed this
his staff

frail bark into the middle of the current, which bore it

away with frightful rapidity.
"Master," said Pensive, "do you hear the roaring of the
waters? We are floating toward a whirlpool which will
swallow us up! Give me a last caress and farewell!"
"No," said Graceful. "Why should the fairies have
deceived us? The shore may be close by; perhaps the sun
is shining behind the clouds. Mount, mount, my good
Pensive; perchance above the fog you will find light and
will see the Castle of Life!"
Pensive spread her half-frozen wings, and courageously
soared amid the cold and mist. Graceful listened for a
moment to the sound of her flight; then all was silent, while
the iceberg pursued its furious course through the darkness.
Graceful waited a long time; at last, when he felt himself
alone, hope abandoned him, and he lay down to await
death on the tottering iceberg. Livid flashes of lightning
shot through the clouds, horrible bursts of thunder were
heard, and the end of the world and of time seemed ap-
proaching. All at once, in the midst of his despair, Grace-
ful heard the cry of the swallow, and Pensive fell at his
feet. "Master, master," cried she, "you were right. I
have seen the shore; the dawn is close at hand. Courage!"
Saying she convulsively spread her tired wings and

lay motionless and lifeless.

Graceful started up, placed the poor bird that had sacri-
ficed itself for him next his heart, and, with superhuman

ardor, urged the iceberg on to safety or destruction. Sud-

denly he heard the roaring of the breakers. He fell on his

knees and closed his eyes, awaiting death.

A wave like a mountain broke over his head and cast him
fainting on the shore, which no living person had touched
before him.

When Graceful recovered his senses, the ice, clouds, and

darkness had disappeared. He was lying on the ground in
the midst of a charming country, covered with trees bathed
in a soft light. In front of him was a beautiful castle, from
which bubbled a brook that flowed into a sea as blue, calm,
and transparent as the sky. Graceful looked about him;
he was alone alone with the remains of his two companions,
which the waves had washed on the shore. Exhausted with
suffering and excitement, he dragged himself to the brook
and bent over the water to refresh parched lips, when
he shrank back with affright. It was not his face that he
saw in the water, but that of an old man with silvery locks
who strongly resembled him. He turned round; there was
no one behind him. He again drew near the fountain;
he saw the old man, or rather, doubtless, the old man was
himself. "Great fairies," he cried. "I understand you.
If it is my life that you wish in exchange for that of

my grandmother, I joyfully accept the sacrifice." And

without troubling himself further about his old age and
wrinkles, he plunged his head into the water and drank
On rising, he was astonished to see himself again as he
was when he home, only more beautiful, with blacker

hair and brighter eyes than ever. He picked up his hat,

which had fallen near the spring, and which a drop of water
had touched by chance, when what was his surprise to see
the butterfly that he had pinned to it fluttering its wings
and seeking to fly. He gave it its liberty, and ran to the
beach for Fido and tensive, then plunged them both into,
the blessed fountain. Pensive flew upward with a joyful

cry and disappeared amid the turrets of the castle. Fido,

shaking the water from both ears, ran to the kennels of
the palace, where he was met by magnificent watch-dogs,
which, instead of barking and growling at the new-comer,
welcomed him joyfully like an old Graceful had at
lastfound the Fountain of Immortality, or rather the brook
that flowed from it a brook already greatly weakened,
and which only gave two or three hundred years of life to
those that drank of it; but nothing prevented them from

drinking anew.
Graceful filled his vial with this life-giving water and
approached the palace. His heart beat, for a last trial

remained. So near success, he feared the more to fail.

He mounted the steps of the castle. All was closed and

silent; no one was there to receive the traveler. When he
had reached the last step and was about to knock at the
door, a voice, rather gentle than harsh, stopped him.
"Have you loved?" said the invisible voice.

''Yes," answered Graceful; "I have loved rny grand-

mother better than any one in the world."

The door opened a little way.

"Have you suffered for her whom you have loved?"
resumed the voice.
"I have suffered," replied Graceful; "much through my
own fault, doubtless, but a little for her whom I wished to
The door opened half-way and the child caught a glimpse
of woods, waters, and a sky more beautiful than anything
of which he had ever dreamed.
"Have you always done your duty?" said the voice, in a
harsher tone.
"Alas! no," replied Graceful, falling on his knees; "but
when I have failed I have been punished by my remorse
even more than by the hard trials through which I have
passed. Forgive me, and punish me as I deserve, if I have
not yet expiated all my faults but save her whom I love-

save my grandmother."
The door instantly opened wide, though Graceful saw
no one. Intoxicated with joy, he entered a courtyard
surrounded with arbors embowered in foliage, with a
fountain in the midst, spouting from a tuft of flowers larger,
more beautiful, and more fragrant than any he had seen
on earth. By the side of the spring stood a woman dressed
in white, of noble bearing, and seemingly not more than
forty years old. She advanced to meet Graceful, and
smiled on him so sweetly that the child felt himself touched
to the heart, and his eyes filled with tears.
"Don't you know me?" said the woman.
"Oh, grandmother! is it you?" he exclaimed. "How
came you in the Castle of Life?"
"My child," said she, pressing him to her heart, "He
who brought me an enchanter more powerful than
here is

the fairies of the woods and the waters. I shall never

more return to Salerno. I shall receive my reward here
for the little good I have done by tasting a happiness

which time will not destroy."

"And me, grandmother!" cried Graceful, "what shall
become of me? After seeing you here, how can I return to
suffer alone?"
"My dear child," she replied, "no one can live on earth
after he has caught a glimpse of the celestial delights of this

abode. You have lived, my dear Graceful; life has nothing

more to teach you. You have
passed in four days through
the desert where I languished eighty years, and henceforth

nothing can separate us."

The door and from that time nothing was heard
of Graceful or his grandmother. It was in vain that

search was made for the palace and enchanted fountain;

they were never more discovered on earth. But if we

understood the language of the stars, if we felt what their
gentle rays tell us every evening, we should long ago have
learned from them where to look for the Castle of Life and
the Fountain of Immortality.
INGE upon a time there were two brothers, who
lived One did every-
together in one family.
thing, while the other was an idle fellow who troubled
himself about nothing but eating and drinking. The har-
vests were always magnificent; they had cows, horses,
sheep, pigs, bees, and everything else in plenty.

The elder brother, who did everything, said to himself,

one day, "Why should I work for this idler? It is better
for us to separate; I will work for myself alone, and he

can do as he likes." He said to his brother, therefore:

"Brother, not just for me to do everything, while
it is

you trouble yourself about nothing but eating and drinking;

we must separate."
His brother tried to dissuade him from his plan, saying:
"Brother, don't do this, we are so well off as we are.
You have everything in your own hands; what is mine
is yours; and you know that I am always satisfied with
what you do or order done."
The however, persisted in his resolution till the

younger was forced to yield. "Since it must be so," said

he, "I am not angry. Divide the property as you like."
The division made, each took his share. The idler hired

a drover for his a groom for his horses, a shepherd

for his sheep, a goatherd for his goats, a swineherd for his

hogs, and a keeper for his bees, and said to them all, "I
intrust my property to you. May God have you in His
keeping." And he continued to stay at home, with no more
care than before.
The elder, on the contrary, labored for himself as he had
done for the common good: he kept his own flocks and
had an eye to everything; yet, in spite of all this, he found
bad luck and misfortune everywhere; everything went
wrong with him, until at last he was so poor that he had
not even a pair of shoes, but was forced to go barefoot.
He said to himself, "I will go to my brother's house and
see how prospering with him."
affairs are

His road lay through a pasture in which a flock of sheep

was feeding. On approaching them he saw that they had
no shepherd. A beautiful young girl was seated near them,
with her spinning gold thread.

He saluted the young girl and asked her to whom the

flock belonged.
"To him to whom I belong belong also these sheep,"

answered she.
"And who are you?" said he.
"I am your brother's fortune?" she replied.
"And where is my fortune?" he exclaimed, seized with

anger and envy.

"Ah! she is far from you," said the young girl.

"Can I find her?" asked he.

"You can," she replied, "if you only look yonder."
On hearing these words, and seeing that the sheep were
the finest that could be imagined, he had no wish to see the
other flocks, but went straight to his brother, who, as soon
as hesaw him, burst into tears, moved with pity.
"Where have you been so long?" asked he. And, seeing
hmi clothed in rags and barefooted, he gave him a pair of
shoes and some money.
After staying three days in his brother's house, the poor
man set out for home. No sooner had he reached his
house than he threw a bag across his shoulder, with a piece
of bread in it, took a staff in his hand, and set out to seek

his fortune.
After walking for some time he found himself in a great
forest, where he saw a wretched old hag asleep under
a tree. He
gave her a blow on the back with his staff
to awaken her. She moved with difficulty, and, half
opening her bleared eyes, said to him, "Thank God that
I was asleep, for if I had been awake you would not have

had those shoes."

"Who are you, then," asked he, "that would have pre-
vented my having these shoes?"
"I am your fortune," answered the old woman.
"What! are you my fortune?" cried he, striking his
breast. "May God exterminate you! Who gave you to
"It was Destiny," replied the old woman.
"Where is Destiny?" he asked.
"Go and find him," said the old woman, lying down to
sleep again.
He set out in search of Destiny.
After a long, long jour-
ney, at length he reached a wood, where he found a hermit,
of whom he asked the way to the abode of Destiny.
"Go straight up yonder mountain and you will find his
castle,"answered the hermit; "but when you find him take
care not to speak to him, but only do all that you see him
The traveler thanked the hermit and took his way to
the mountain. When he reached the abode of Destiny
he saw a magnificent palace full of servants constantly
bustling about and doing nothing. As to Destiny, he was
supping at a table bountifully served. When the stranger
saw this he also sat down at the table and supped with the
master of the house. After supper Destiny went to bed,
and his guest did the same.

At midnight a terrible noise was heard in the castle, and a

voice cried, "Destiny, Destiny, such a number of souls
have come into the world this night; give them something
according to thy good pleasure."
And behold! Destiny rose, and opened a golden chest
filled with shining guineas, which he scattered by handfuls

about the room, saying, "Such as I am to-day, such shalt

thou be all thy life!"
At daybreak the beautiful castle had vanished, and in

place stood an ordinary house, in which, however, nothing


was wanting. When evening came Destiny sat down to

supper. His guest did the same, but no one spoke a word.
Supper over, they went to bed. At midnight a terrible
noise was heard, and a voice cried, "Destiny, Destiny, such
a number of souls have come into the world this night;
give them something according to thy good pleasure."
And behold! Destiny rose, and opened a silver chest, but
thistime there were no guineas in it, but only silver coin,
with a few small pieces of gold, which Destiny scattered
on the floor, saying, Such as I am to-day, such shalt thou
be all thy life!"

At daybreak this house had also disappeared, and a

smaller one stood in its place. The same thing happened
every night, and every morning the house was smaller, until
finally there was nothing but a wretched
hut. Destiny
now took a spade and began to dig the ground. His guest
did the same, and both worked all day. When night came,
Destiny took a crust of bread and, breaking it in two,
gave half to his companion. This was all his supper.
When they had eaten it they went to bed.
At midnight a was heard, and a voice cried
terrible noise

out, "Destiny, Destiny, such a number of souls have come

into the world this night; give them something according to

thy good pleasure."

And behold! Destiny rose, and opened a wooden chest
filled with pebbles mixed with a few copper coins, which he

scattered on the ground, saying, "Such as I am to-day, such

shalt thou be all thy life!"
When morning dawned the cabin was changed into a

splendid palace, as on the first day. Then, for the first

time, Destiny spoke to his guest. "Why did you come

here?" asked he.
The poor man told him the whole story of his wretched-
ness, and how he had come to ask Destiny himself why he
had given him such a bad fortune.
"You saw what I was the first night, when I scattered
guineas, and what followed," replied Destiny. "Such as I
am on the night that a man is born, such will that man be
all his life. You were born on a night of poverty; you
will always be poor. Your brother, on the contrary, came
into the world on a lucky night; he will always be fortunate.

But, since you have taken so much trouble to find me, I

will tell you how to help yourself. Your brother has a
daughter by the name who is as fortunate as her
of Miliza,
father. Take her for your wife when you return home,
but be careful always to say that all that you have belongs
to her."
The poor man thanked Destiny again and again, and set
out for home. As soon as he arrived he went straight to
his brother's house and said,

"Brother, give me Miliza for a wife; you see that I am all

alone in the world."

"I am willing," answered his brother; "Miliza is yours."
The bridegroom carried Miliza to his house. He soon
became very rich, but he always took good care to say,
"All that I have belongs to Miliza."
One day, however, as he was admiring his wheat, which
was the most beautiful that ever was seen, a stranger passed

by and asked, "Whose wheat is this?"

"It is mine," answered he, without thinking. But
scarcelyhad he spoken when, behold! the wheat took fire,
and the flames spread all over the field. Without stopping
to put it out, he ran after the traveler, crying, "Stop,
sir, I was mistaken; it belongs to Miliza, my brother's

The fire went out at once of its own accord. He had
learned a good lesson which he never forgot, and from that
time thenceforth he was fortunate, thanks to Miliza.
HERE was once a woman who was left a widow
with two children. The elder, who was only her step-
daughter, was named Dobrunka; the younger, who was
as wicked as her mother, was called Katinka. The
mother worshiped her daughter, but she hated Do-
brunka, simply because she was as beautiful as her sister
was ugly. Dobrunka did not even know that she was
pretty, and she could not understand why her stepmother
flew into a rage at the mere sight of her. The poor child
was obliged to do all the work of the house; she had to

sweep, cook, wash, sew, spin, weave, cut the grass, and take
care of the cow, while Katinka lived like a princess that
is to say, did nothing.
Dobrunka worked with a good will, and took reproaches
and blows with the gentleness of a lamb; but nothing
soothed her stepmother, for every day added to the beauty
of the elder sister and the ugliness of the younger. ''They
are growing up," thought the mother, "and suitors will
soon appear, who will refuse my daughter when they see
this hateful Dobrunka, who grows beautiful on purpose to
spite me. I must get rid of her, cost what it may."

One day in the middle of January, Katinka took a fancy

for some violets. She called Dobrunka and said, "Go to
the forest and bring me a bunch of violets, that I may put
them my bosom and enjoy their fragrance."

"Oh, sister, what an idea!" answered Dobrunka; "as

if there were any violets under the snow!"
"Hold your tongue, stupid fool," returned her sister,

"and do as I bid you. If you do not go to the forest and

bring me back a bunch of violets I will beat you to a jelly."

Upon this the mother took Dobrunka by the arm, put her
out of the door, and drew the bolt on her.
The poor girl went to the forest weeping bitterly. Every-
thing was covered with snow; there was not even a foot-
path. She lost her way and wandered about till, famishing
with hunger and perishing with cold, she entreated God to

take her from this wretched life.

AU at once she saw a light in the distance. She went on,
climbing higher and higher, until at last she reached the top
of a huge rock, upon which a great fire was built. Around
the fire were twelve stones, and on each stone sat a motion-
less figure, wrapped in a large mantle, his head covered with

a hood which over his eyes. Three of these mantles


were white like the snow, three were green like the grass
of the meadows, three were golden like the sheaves of ripe
wheat, and three were purple like the grapes of the vine.
These twelve figures, gazing at the fire in silence, were the
Twelve Months of the year.

Dobrunka knew January by his long white beard. He

was the only one that had a staff in his hand. The poor
girl was terribly frightened. She drew near, saying, in a
timid voice, "My good sirs, please to let rne
myself warm
by your fire; I
with cold."

January nodded his head. "Why have you come here,

my child?" he asked. "What are you looking for?"
"I am looking for violets," replied Dobrunka.
"This is not the season for them; there are no violets in
the time of snow," said January, in his gruff voice.
"I know it," replied Dobrunka, sadly; "but my sister
and mother will beat me to a jelly if I do not bring them
some. My good sirs, please to tell me where I can find them."
Old January rose, and, turning to a young man in a green
mantle, put his staff in hi hand, and said to him, "Brother
March, this is your business."
March rose in turn, and stirred the fire with the staff,

when, behold! the flames rose, the snow melted, the buds
put forth on the turned green under the
trees, the grass

bushes, the flowers peeped through the verdure, and the

violets opened it was spring.
"Make haste, my child, and gather your violets," said
Dobrunka gathered a large bouquet, thanked the
Twelve Months, and joyfully ran home. You can im-
agine the astonishment of Katinka and the step-
mother. The fragrance of the violets filled the whole
"Where did you find these fine things?" asked Katinka,
in a disdainful voice.

"Up yonder, on the mountain," answered her sister. "It

looked like a great blue carpet under the bushes."
Katinka put the bouquet in her bosom and did not even
thank the poor child.
The next morning the wicked sister, as she sat idling by
the stove, took a fancy for some strawberries.
"Go to the forest and bring me some strawberries," said
she to Dobrunka.
"Oh, what an idea! as if there were any straw-

berries under the snow!"

"Hold your tongue, stupid fool, and do as I bid you. If
you don't go to the and bring me back a basket of

strawberries, I will beat you to a jelly."

The mother took Dobrunka by the arm, put her out of
the door, and drew the bolt on her.
The poor girl returned to the forest, looking with all her
eyes for the light that she had seen the day before. She
was fortunate enough to spy it, and she reached the fire
J e and almost frozen.
The Twelve Months were in their places, motionless and

"My good sirs," said Dobrunka, "please to let me warm

myself by your fire; I am almost frozen with cold."
"Why have you returned?" asked January. "What are

you looking for?"

"I am
looking for strawberries," answered she.
'This is not the season for them," returned January,
in his gruff voice; "there are no strawberries under the

"I know it," replied Dobrunka, sadly; "but my mother
and sister will beat me to a jelly if I do not bring them some.
My good sirs, please to tell me where I can find them."
Old January rose and, turning to a man in a golden man-
tle, he put his staff in his hand, saying, "Brother June,

this your business."


June rose in turn, and stirred the fire with the staff, when,
behold! the flames rose, the snow melted, the earth grew

green, the trees were covered with leaves, the birds sang
and the flowers opened it was summer. Thousands of

little white stars enameled the turf, then turned to red

strawberries, looking, in their green cups, like rubies set in
"Make haste, my child, and gather your strawberries,"
said June.
Dobrunka filled her apron, thanked the Twelve Months,
and joyfully ran home. You may imagine the astonish-
ment of Katinka and the stepmother. The fragrance of
the strawberries filled the whole house.
"Where did you find these things?" asked Katinka, in

a disdainful voice.
"Up yonder on the mountain," answered her sister;
"there were so many of them that they looked like blood
poured on the ground."
Katinka and her mother devoured the strawberries with-
out even thanking the poor child.
The third day the wicked sister took a fancy for some
red apples. The same threats, the same insults, and the
same violence followed. Dobrunka ran to the mountain,
and was fortunate enough to find the Twelve Months warm-
ing themselves, motionless and silent.
"You here again, my
child?" said old January, making
room for her by the fire. Dobrunka told him, with tears,
how, if she did not bring home some red apples, her mother
and sister would beat her to death.
Old January repeated the ceremonies of the day before.
"Brother September," said he to a gray-bearded man in a
purple mantle, "this is your business."
September rose and stirred the fire with the staff, when,
behold! the flames ascended, the snow melted, and the
trees put forth a few yellow leaves, which fell one by one
before the wind it was autumn. The only flowers were
a few late pinks, daisies, and immortelles. Dobrunka
saw but one thing, an apple-tree with its rosy fruit.
"Make haste, my child; shake the tree," said September.
She shook it, and an apple fell; she shook it again, and a
second apple followed.
"Make haste, Dobrunka, make haste home!" cried Sep-

tember, in an imperious voice.

The good child thanked the Twelve Months, and joyfully
ran home. You may imagine the astonishment of Katinka
and the stepmother.
"Red applesJanuary! Where did you get these

apples?" asked Katinka.

"Up yonder on the mountain; there is a tree there that
is as red with them as a cherry-tree in July."

"Why did you bring only two? You ate the rest on the

"Oh, sister, I did not touch them; I was only permitted
to shake the tree twice, and but two apples fell."

"Begone, you fool!" cried Katinka, striking her sister,

who ran away crying.

The wicked girl tasted one of the apples; she had
never eaten anything so delicious in her life, neither
had her mother. How they regretted not having any
"Mother," said Katinka, "give me my fur cloak. I
will go to the forest and find the tree, and whether I am
permitted or not I will shake it so hard that all the apples
will be ours."

The mother tried to stop her. A spoiled child listens to

nothing. Katinka wrapped herself in her fur cloak, drew
the hood over her head, and hastened to the forest.

Everything was covered with snow; there was not even a

footpath. Katinka lost her way, but she pushed on,
spurred by pride and covetousness. She spied a light in
the distance. She climbed and climbed till she reached
the place, and found the Twelve Months each seated on his

stone, motionless and silent. Without asking their per-

mission, she approached the fire.

"Why have you come here? What do you want? Where

are you going?" asked old January, gruffly.
"What matters it to you, old fool?" answered Katinka.
"It is your business where I came from or whither
none of

I am going." She plunged into the forest. January frowned

and raised his staff above his head. In the twinkling
of an eye the sky was overcast, the fire went out, the
snow fell, and the wind blew. Katinka could not see the
way before her. She lost herself, and vainly tried to
retrace her steps. The snow fell and the wind blew. She
called her mother, she cursed her sister, she cursed God.
The snow fell and the wind blew. Katinka froze, her
limbs stiffened, and she fell motionless. The snow still fell

and the wind still blew.

The mother went without ceasing from the window to
the door, and from the door to the window. The hours
passed and Katinka did not return.
"I must go and look for my daughter," said she. ''The

child has forgotten herself with those hateful apples." She

took her fur cloak and hood, and hastened to the mountain.
not even a
Everything was covered with snow; there was
her daugh-
footpath. She plunged into the forest, calling
ter. The snow fell and the wind blew. She walked on
with feverish anxiety, shouting at the top of her voice.
The snow still fell and the wind still blew.
Dobrunka waited through the evening and the night,

but no one returned.In the morning she took her wheel

and spun a whole distaff full; there was still no news.
"What can have happened?" said the girl, weeping. The
sun was shining through an icy mist and the ground was
covered with snow. Dobrunka prayed for her mother and
sister. They did not return; and it was not till spring
that a shepherd found the two corpses in the forest.
Dobrunka remained the sole mistress of the house, the
cow, and the garden, to say nothing of a piece of meadow
adjoining the house. But when a good
and pretty girl
has a under her window, the next thing that follows

is a young farmer who offers her his heart and hand.

Dobrunka was soon married. The Twelve Months did not
abandon their child. More than once, when the north
wind blew fearfully and the windows shook in their frames,
old January stopped up all the crevices of the house with

snow, so that the cold might not enter this peaceful abode.
Dobrunka lived to a good old age, always virtuous and
happy, having, according to the proverb, winter at the door,
summer in the barn, autumn in the cellar, and spring in

the heart.
WANDA, the Piper, was a jolly companion. Like
every true musician, he was born with an un-
quenchable thirst; besides, he was madly fond of play,
and would have risked his soul at strajak, the favorite

game at cards in Bohemia. When he had earned a little

money he would throw aside his pipes, and drink and play
with the first comer till he returned to his home as
in pocket as when he had left it. But he was always so
merry, witty, and good-natured that not a drinker ever
left the table while the
piper was there, and his name still
lives in Bohemia as the
prince of good fellows.
One day there was a festival at Mokran, and no
making was ever complete without the piper. Swanda,
after blowing his pipe till
midnight and earning twenty
zwanzigers, determined to amuse himself on his own account.
Neither prayers nor promises could persuade him to
on with his music; he was determined to drink his fill

and to shuffle the cards at his ease; but, for the first time
in hislife, he found no one to play with him.

Swanda was not the man to quit the inn so long as he

had a kreutzer in his pocket, and on that day he had many
of them. By dint of talking, laughing, and drinking he
took one of those fixed ideas which are not uncommon
among those who look too often in the bottom of their

glass, and determined to play at any price; but all his

neighbors refused his challenge. Furious at finding no

partner, he rose with an unsteady step, paid for what he
had drank, and left the inn.
"I will go to Drazic," said he; "the schoolmaster and
the bailiff there are honest people who are not afraid of

play, and I shall find partners. Hurrah!"

The night was clear and the moon shone like a fish's

eye. On reaching a cross-road Swanda raised his eyes

by chance, and stopped, mute and motionless. A flock of
ravens were croaking over his head, and in front of him
rose four posts, standing like pillars, and connected at the
top by cross-beams, from each of which swung a half-
devoured corpse. It was a robbers' gallows, a spectacle
by no means amusing to a less stoical spirit than that of
He had not recovered from the first shudder when sud-
denly there appeared before him a man dressed in black,
with pale and hollow cheeks, and eyes that glittered like

"Where are you going so late, friend Piper?" asked he,
in a soft voice.
"To Drazic, Mr. Black Coat," answered the intrepid
"Would you something by your music?"
like to earn

"I am tired of blowing," returned Swanda. "I have

some silver in my pocket, and wish to amuse myself."
"Who talks to you of silver? It is with gold that we

Saying the stranger flashed before his eyes a hand-
ful of shining ducats. The piper was the son of a thrifty
mother; he knew not how to resist such an invitation, and
followed the black man and his gold.

How the time passed he never could remember. It is

true that his head was a little heavy. The only thing
that he recollected was that the black man warned him to

accept whatever was offered him, whether gold or wine,

but never to return thanks except by saying "Good luck,
Without knowing how he had entered, he found himself
in a dark room where three men, dressed in black like his

guide, were playing at strajak by no other light than their

glittering eyes. On the table were piles of gold, and a
jug from which each one drank in his turn.
"Brothers," said the black man, "I bring you friend
Swanda, have long known by reputation. I
whom you
thought to please you on this feast-day by giving you a
little music."
"A good idea!" said one of the players. Then, taking
the jug, he handed it to Swanda, saying, "Here, piper,
drink and play."
Swanda had some scruples; but, afterimpos-
all, it is

sible to have charcoal without putting your finger into the

ashes. The wine, though rather warm, was not bad. He

replaced the jug on the table, and raising his hat, said,
"Good luck, brother!" as he had been advised.
He began to play, and never had music produced such

an effect. Each note made the players leap for joy. Their
eyes shot forth flames; they moved about uneasily
in their

chairs; they staked the ducats by handfuls; they shouted

and burst into loud fits of laughter without stirring a muscle
of their pallid faces. The jug passed from hand to hand,

always full, though replenished by no one.

As soon as Swanda finished an air they handed him
the jug, from which he never failed to drink deeply, and
threw handfuls of gold into his hat. Good luck, brother!"

he repeated, astounded at his fortune "good luck!"

The feast lasted a long time. At last, the piper having
struck up a polka, the black men, in a transport of mirth,

quitted the table and danced and waltzed

with an ardor
and frenzy which accorded with their icy faces.
ill One of
the dancers gathered up all the gold that was heaped on
the table, and, pouring it into Swanda's hat, "Here,"
said he, "take this for the pleasure that you have given us."
"God bless you, niy good lords!" said the dazzled piper.
Scarcely had he spoken when men, room, and cards van-
In the morning a peasant on his way to the fields heard
the sound of a pipe as he approached the cross-road. "It
is Swanda," said he. But where was the piper? Seated
on a corner he was blowing with all his
of the gallows,

might, while the corpses of the robbers danced in the wind

to his music.
"Halloo, comrade!" cried the peasant. "How long have
you been playing the cuckoo up there?"
Swanda started, dropped his pipe, opened his eyes,
and glided, bewildered, down the gallows. His first

thought, however, was for his ducats. He rummaged his

pockets and turned his hat inside out, but all in vain;
there was not even a kreutzer!

"My friend," said the peasant,

making the sign of the
cross, "God has punished you by giving you the devil
for a partner; you love cards too well."
"You are right," said Swanda, trembling; "I will never
touch them again in my life."
He kept his word; and, to thank Heaven for having
preserved him from such peril, he took the fatal pipe to
which the devil had danced, and suspended it as a votive
offering in the church of Strakonic, his birthplace, where
it be seen to this day. The pipe of Strakonic has
become a proverb, and it is even said that its sound is
heard every year at the day and hour when Swanda played
for Satan and his friends.
NCE upon a time there was a widow who had
a beautiful daughter. The mother was modest
and humble; the daughter, Marienka, was pride itself.
She had suitors from all sides, but none satisfied her; the
more they tried to please her the more she disdained
One night, when the poor mother could not sleep, she
took her beads and began to pray for her dear child, who
gave her more than one care. Marienka was asleep by
her side. As the mother gazed lovingly at her beautiful
daughter, Marienka laughed in her sleep.
"What a beautiful dream she must have to laugh in this
way!" said the mother. Then she finished her prayer,
hung her beads on the wall, laid her head on the same
pillow with her daughter, and fell asleep.
"My dear child," said she in the morning, "what did you
dream last night that you laughed so?"
"What did I dream, mamma? I dreamed that a noble-
man came here for me in a copper coach, and that he put a
ring on my finger set with a stone that sparkled like the
stars. And when I entered the church the people had
eyes for no one but the blessed Virgin and me."
"My daughter, my daughter, that was a proud dream!"
said the mother, shaking her head. But Marienka went
out singing.
The same day a wagon entered the yard. A handsome
young farmer in good circumstances came to ask Marienka
to share a peasant's bread with him. The mother was

pleased with the suitor, but the proud Marienka refused him,
saying, "Though you should come in a copper coach, and
put a ring on my finger set with a stone that sparkled like
the stars, I would not have you for a husband." And the
farmer went away storming at Marienka's pride.
The next night the mother waked, took her beads, and
prayed more earnestly for her daughter, when, behold!

Marienka laughed again as she was sleeping.

"I wonder what she is dreaming," said the mother, who
prayed, unable to sleep.
"My dear child," she said the next morning, "what did
you dream last night that you laughed aloud?"
"What did I dream, mamma? I dreamed that a noble-
man came here for me in a silver coach, and that he offered
me a golden diadem. And when I entered the church the
people looked at me more than they did at the blessed
"Hush! you are blaspheming. Pray, my daughter, pray
that you may not fall into temptation."
But Marienka ran away to escape her mother's sermon.
The same day a carriage entered the yard. A young lord
came to entreat Marienka to share a nobleman's bread with
"It is a great honor," said the mother; but vanity is

Though you should come in a silver coach," said Marien-
ka to the new suitor, "and should offer me a golden diadem,
I would not have you for a husband."
'Take care, nay child," said the poor mother;

is a device of the Evil One."

"Mothers never know what they are saying," thought

Marienka, and she went out shrugging her shoulders.
The third night the mother could not sleep for anxiety.
As she lay awake, pnxying for her daughter, behold! Marien-
ka burst into a loud fit of laughter.
"Oh!" said the mother, "what can the unhappy child be

dreaming now?" And she continued to pray till daylight.

"My dear child," said she in the morning, "what did

you dream last

''You will be angry again if I tell you." answered Ma-
"No, no," replied the mother. "Tell me."
"I dreamed that a noble lord, with a great train of
attendants, came to ask me in marriage. He was in a
golden coach, and he brought me a dress of gold lace. And
when I entered the church, the people looked at nobody
but me."
The mother clasped her hands. Marienka, half dressed,
sprang from the bed and ran into the next room, to avoid a
lecture that was tiresome to her.
The same day three coaches entered the yard, one of

copper, one of silver, and one of gold; the first drawn by

two horses, the second by four, and the third by eight, all
caparisoned with gold and pearls. From the copper and
silver coaches alighted pages dressed in scarlet breeches

and green jackets and cloaks, while from the golden coach
stepped a handsome nobleman all dressed in gold. He
entered the house, and, bending one knee on the ground,
asked the mother for her daughter's hand.
"What an honor!" thought the mother.
"My dream has come to pass," said Marienka. "You
mother, that, as usual, I was right and you were wrong."
She ran to her chamber, tied the betrothal knot, and
offered it smilingly as a pledge of her faith to the handsome
lord, who, on put a ring on her finger set with a
his side,
stone that sparkled like the stars, and presented her with a

golden diadem and a dress of gold lace.

The proud ran to her room to dress for the ceremony,
while the mother, still anxious, said to the bridegroom,

"My good sir, what bread do you offer my daughter?"

"Among us," said he, "the bread is of copper, silver,
and gold. She can take her choice."
"What does this mean?" thought the mother. But
Marienka had no anxiety; she returned as beautiful as the
sun, took her lover's arm, and set out for the church with-
out asking her mother's blessing. The poor woman was
left to pray alone on the threshold; and when Marienka

returned and entered the carriage she did not even turn
round to look at her mother or to bid her a last farewell.
The eight horses set off at a gallop, and did not stop till

they reached a huge rock in which there was a hole as large

as the gate of a city. The horses plunged into the darkness,
the earth trembled, and the rock cracked and crumbled.
Marienka seized her husband's hand.
"Don't be alarmed, my fair one; in a moment it will be

All at once a thousand lights waved in the air. The
dwarfs of the mountain, each with a torch in his hand, came
to salute their lord, the King of the Mines. Marienka
learned for the first time her husband's name. Whether
he was a spirit of good or of evil, at least he was so rich

that she did not regret her choice.

They emerged from the darkness, and advanced through

bleached forests and mountains that raised their pale and
gloomy summits to the skies. Firs, beeches, birches, oaks,
rocks, all were of lead. At the end of the forest stretched a
vast meadow the grass of which was of silver; and at the
bottom meadow was
of the a castle of gold, inlaid with
diamonds and rubies. The carriage stopped before the
door, and the King of the Mines offered his hand to his
bride, saying, "My fair one, all that you see is yours."
Marienka was delighted. But it is impossible to make so
long a journey without being hungry; and it was with
pleasure, therefore, that she saw the mountain dwarfs
bring in a table, everything on which glittered with gold,
silver, and precious stones. The dishes were marvelous-
side-dishes of emeralds, and roasts of gold on silver salvers.

Every one ate heartily except the bride, who begged her
husband for a little bread.

"Bring the copper bread," said the King of the Mines.

Marienka could not eat it.
"Bring the silver bread," said he.
Marienka could not eat it.
"Bring the gold bread," said he, at length.
Marienka could not eat it.
"My fair one," said the King of the Mines, "I am very
sorry ; but what can I offer you? We have no other bread."
The bride burst into tears. Her husband laughed aloud;
his heart was of metal, like his kingdom.
"Weep, if you like," he cried; "it will do you no good.
What you wished for you possess. Eat the bread that you
have chosen."
It was thus that the rich Marienka lived in her castle,

dying of hunger, and seeking in vain for a root to allay the

torture that was consuming her. God had humbled her by

granting her prayer.

Three days in the year, the Rogation Days, when the
ground half opens to receive the fruitful rain sent by the
Lord, Marienka returns to the earth. Dressed in rags,
pale and wrinkled, she begs from door to door, too happy
when any one throws her a few crusts, and when she receives
as alms from the poor what she lacks in her palace of gold

a little bread and a little pity.

Dewitz, in the neighborhood of Prague, there
once lived a rich and whimsical old farmer who
had a beautiful daughter. The students of Prague, of
whom there were at that time twenty - five thousand,
often walked in the direction of Dewitz, and more than
one of them offered to follow the plow in hopes of be-
coming the son-in-law of the farmer. The first condition
that the cunning peasant set on each new servant was
this: "I engage you," he would say, "for a year that
is, till the cuckoo sings the return of spring; but if, from
now till then, you say once that you are not satisfied, I
will cut off the end of your nose. I give you the same

right over me," he added, laughing. And he did as he

said. Prague was full of students with the ends of their
noses glued on, which did not prevent an ugly scar, and,
still less, bad jokes. To return from the farm disfigured
and ridiculed was well calculated to cool the warmest
A young man by the name ofCoranda, somewhat un-
gainly in manner, but cool, adroit, and cunning, which
are not bad aids in making one's fortune, took it in his

head to try the adventure. The farmer

him with received
his usual good nature, and, the bargain made, sent him to

the field to work. At breakfast-time the other servants

were called, but good care was taken to forget Coranda.
At dinner it was the same. Coranda gave himself no
trouble about it. He went to the house, and while the
farmer's wife was feeding the chickens unhooked an
enormous ham from the kitchen rafters, took a huge loaf
from the cupboard, and went back to the fields to dine
and take a nap.
"Are you satisfied?" cried the farmer, when he returned
at night.

"Perfectly satisfied," said Coranda; "I have dined better

than you have."
At that instant the farmer's wife came rushing in, crying
that her ham was gone. Coranda laughed, and the farmer
turned pale.
"Are you not satisfied?" asked Coranda.
"A ham is only a ham," answered his master. "Such a
trifle does not trouble me." But after that time he took

good care not to leave the student fasting.

Sunday came. The farmer and his wife seated them-

selves in the wagon to go to church, saying to Coranda,
"It is your business to cook the dinner. Cut up the piece
of meat you see yonder, with onions, carrots, leeks, and
parsley, and boil them all together in the great pot over the
kitchen fire."

"Very well," answered Coranda.

There was a pet dog at the farm-house by the name

or Parsley. Coranda killed him, skinned him, cut him up

with the meat and vegetables, and put the whole to boil
over the kitchen fire. When the farmer's wife returned
she called her favorite; but, alas! she saw nothing but a
bloody skin hanging by the window.
"What have you done?" said she to Coranda.
"Wliat you ordered me, mistress. I have boiled the
meat, onions, carrots, and leeks, and parsley in the bargain."
"Wicked wretch!" cried the farmer, "had you the heart
10 kill the innocent creature that was the joy of the house?"
"Are you not satisfied?" said Coranda, taking his knife
from his pocket.

"I did not say that," returned the farmer. "A dead
dog is nothing but a dead dog." But he sighed.
A few days after, the farmer and his wife went to market.
Fearing their terrible servant, they said to him, "Stay at
home and do exactly what you see others do."
"Very well," said Coranda.
There was an old shed yard the roof of which was
in the

falling to pieces. The carpenters came to repair it, and

began, as usual, by tearing down the roof. Coranda took
a ladder and mounted the roof of the house, which was
quite new. Shingles, lath, nails, and tiles, he tore off every-
thing, and scattered them all to the winds. When the
farmer returned the house was open to the sky.
"Villain!" said he, "what new trick have you played
"I have obeyed you, master," answered Coranda. "You
told me to do exactly what I saw others do. Are you not
satisfied?" And he took out his knife.
"Satisfied!" returned the farmer; "why should I not be
satisfied? A few shingles more or less will not ruin me."
But he sighed.
Night came, the farmer and his wife said to each other
that it was high time to get rid of this incarnate demon.
As always the case with sensible people, they never did

anything without consulting their daughter, it being the

custom in Bohemia to think that children always have
more wit than their parents.

"Father," said Helen, "I hide in the great pear-tree


early in the morning, and call like the cuckoo. You can
Coranda that the year is up,
tell since the cuckoo is singing;
pay him and send him away."
Early in the morning the plaintive cry of the cuckoo was
heard through the fields. The farmer seemed surprised.
"Well, my boy, spring is come," said he. "Do you hear
the cuckoo singing yonder? I will pay you and we will

part good friends."

"A cuckoo!" said Coranda; "that is a bird which I have
always wanted to see."
He ran to the tree and shook it with all his might, when,
behold! a young girl fell from the branches, fortunately
more frightened than hurt.
"Villain!" cried the farmer.
"Are you not satisfied?" said Coranda, opening his knife.
"Wretch! you kill my daughter and you think that I
ought to be satisfied ! I am furious. Begone, if you would
not die by my hand!"
"I go when I have cut off your nose," said Coranda.

"I have kept my word. Do you keep yours."

"Stop!" cried the farmer, putting his hand before his
face. "You will surely let me redeem my nose?"
"It depends on what you offer," said Coranda.
"Will you take ten sheep for it?"
"Ten cows?"
"No; I would rather cut off your nose." And he sharp-
ened his knife on the door-step.
"Father," said Helen, "the fault was mine; it belongs to
me to repair Coranda,
it. will you take my hand instead
of my father's nose?"

"Yes," replied Coranda.

"I make one condition," said the young girl. "We will
make the same bargain; the first one of us that is not
satisfied after marriage shall have his nose cut off by the
"Good," replied Coranda. "I would rather it was the
tongue; but that will come next."
Never was a finer wedding seen at Prague, and never was
there a happier household. Coranda and the beautiful
Helen were a model pair. The husband and wife were
never heard to complain of each other; they loved with
drawn swords, and, thanks to their ingenious bargain, kept
for long years both their love and their noses.
NCE upon a time there lived a king who was
called the King of the Vermilion Towers. He
had but one whom
he loved as the apple of his eye,
and who was the only hope of a royal line about to become
extinct. The old king's whole ambition was to marry
this illustrious prince to find him a princess at once hand-
some, noble, young, and rich. He could think of nothing
but this wished-for marriage.
Unhappily, among all the virtues in which the heir to a
crown is never lacking, Carlino, for that was the young
prince's name, had the trifling fault of being shyer than a
deer. He shook his head and fled to the woods at the mere
sound of a woman's name, to the great grief of his father,
who was in despair at seeing his family about to die out.
But his grief was in vain; nothing touched the heart of
Carlino. The tears of a father, the prayers of a whole peo-

ple, the interest of the state, nothing could melt this stony
heart. Twenty preachers had wasted their eloquence
and thirty senators their Latin in reasoning with him. To
be stubborn one of the privileges of royalty, as Carlino

had known from his birth, and he would have thought

himself dishonored by being second to a mule in obstinacy.
But more things often happen in an hour than in a hun-
dred years, and no one can say with safety, "This is a
road that I shall never travel." One morning at break-

fast, as Carlino, instead of listening to his father's sermon,

was amusing himself by watching the flies buzzing in the air,
he forgot that he had a knife in his hand, and pricked his
finger in a gesture of impatience. The blood gushed forth
and fell into a plate of cream that had just been handed
to him, where it made a curious mixture of white and red.
Either by chance or by the punishment of Heaven, the

prince was instantly seized with the maddest caprice that

could be imagined.
"Sir," said he to his father, "if I do not soon find a woman
as white and red as cream dyed with
this my blood, I am
lost. This wonder must exist somewhere. I love her; I

am dying for her; I must have her; I will have her. To a

resolute heart nothing is impossible. If you would have
me live, let me go in search of her, or before to-morrow I
shall be dead of loneliness."
The poor King of the Vermilion Towers was thunder-
struck at this folly. It seemed to him that his palace was
crumbling over his head; he turned red and pale by turns,
stammered, wept, and finally cried, in a voice broken with

"Oh, my child, the staff of my old age, my heart's blood,

the life of my soul, what an idea have you taken into your
head! Have you lost your reason? Yesterday you almost
made me die of sorrowby refusing to marry to-day you are

about to drive me from the world by another piece of folly.

Whither would you go, unhappy boy? Why leave your
home, where you have been born and bred? Do you know
to what danger and suffering the traveler exposes himself?
Drive away these perilous fancies, and stay with me, my
child, if you would not deprive me of life and destroy your

kingdom and house at one blow."

All these words, and others equally wise, had no more
effect than an official harangue. Carlino, his eye fixed and
his brow bent, listened to nothing but his passion. All
that was said to him went in at one ear and out at the other;
it was eloquence cast to the winds.
Whenthe old king, worn out with prayers and tears,

perceived that it was easier to melt a leaden weathercock

on its steeple than a spoiled child in pursuit of his whim, he
heaved a deep sigh and determined to let Carlino go; and
giving him counsels to which he scarcely listened, several

bags filled with guineas, which were rather better received

than the counsels, and two trusty servants, the good king
clasped his rebellious son to his heart and bade him adieu,
9 117
then mounted to the top of the great tower to follow the
ungrateful boy with his eyes as far as he could
see. When
Carlino at last disappeared in the distance, the poor mon-
arch thought that his heart was breaking. He buried his
face in his hands and wept, not like a child, but like a father.
The tears of a child are like the summer rain, large drops

that are soon dried up; the tears of a father are like the
autumnal rain, whichslowly and soaks into the ground.

While the king wept, Carlino, mounted on a fine horse,

rode on gaily, his plume waving in the wind, like a hero
about to conquer the world. To find what he sought was
not an easy task, however, and his journey lasted more
than one day. He crossed mountains and valleys, traversed
kingdoms, duchies, earldoms, and baronies, and visited
cities, villages, and cottages, gazing at all the

women, and gazed at by them in turn; but all in vain: the

treasure that he sought was not to be found in old Europe.
At the end of four months he reached Marseilles, resolved
to embark for the Indies. At the sight of the raging sea,
however, his brave and faithful servants were seized with
an epidemic, called by the physicians stay-at-horneativeness
in Hebrew, and the headache in the feet in Latin. To the
great regret of these honest people, they
were forced to quit
their good master and remain quietly on shore, wrapped
in their warm blankets, while Carlino, embarked on a frail

bark, braved the winds and waves.

Nothing can stop a heart hurried away by passion. The
prince roamed over Egypt, India, and China, going from
province to province, from city to city, from house to house,
and from cabin to cabin, everywhere seeking the original
of the fair image that was engraved on his heart, but in
vain. He saw women of all colors and shades, brown,
blond, olive, sandy, white, yellow, red, and black, but he
did not see her whom he loved.

Always seeking and never finding, Carlino at last reached

the end of the world. There was nothing more before him
but the ocean and the sky. His hopes were at an end; his
dream had vanished. As he was walking despairingly up and
down the seashore, he spied an old man warming himself in
the sun. The prince asked him if there was nothing beyond
these waves that stretched as far as the eye could reach.

"No," said the old man; "no one has ever discovered any-
thing in this shoreless ocean, or, at least, those who have
ventured on it have never returned to tell the story. I

remember, however, having heard the old men among us

say, when I was a child," he added, "that their fathers had
told them that yonder, a long, long way off, far beyond the
horizon, was the Island of the Fates; but woe to the im-
prudent man who approaches these merciless fairies; he
is struck with death at their sight."
"What does that matter?" cried Carlino. "I would face
death itself to gain my wishes."
A bark lay by the strand. The prince sprang on board
and unfurled the sail. The wind, which blew off the shore,
hurried forward the frail craft, the land disappeared, and
Carlino found himself in the midst of the ocean. In vain
he gazed about him; there was nothing but the sea the
sea everywhere; in vain the bark bounded over the foam-

ing waves with the speed of lightning, like a steed with

mane floating on the wind; there was nothing but the sea
the sea everywhere. Billows followed billows, the hours

passed one after another, the day declined, and the solitude
and silence seemed to deepen around Carlino, when all at
once he uttered a cry ; he saw a black speck in the distance.
At the same instant the bark, shooting ahead like an arrow,
struck upon the sand at the foot of huge rocks, which raised
their dark summits, notched and worn by time, to the skies.
Fate had thrown Carlino upon that strand from which none
had ever returned.
To climb this wall was not an easy matter; there was
neither road nor path; and when Carlino, after long efforts,
with torn hands and wearied limbs, at last succeeded in
reaching a level spot, what he found was not calculated to
reassure him. He saw nothing but glaciers piled upon
one another black, damp rocks rising from the midst of the
snows not a tree, not a blade of grass, not a bit of moss;
it was the picture of winter and death. The only sign of
life in this desert was a wretched hovel, the roof of which

was loaded with great stones in order to resist the fury of

the winds. The prince approached the hut, and was about
to enter it, when he stopped short, struck with surprise and
terror at the spectacle which presented itself.

At the end of the room was a great web of cloth, on which

were pictured all the conditions of life. There were kings,
soldiers, farmers, and shepherds, with ladies richly dressed,
and peasant women spinning by their side. At the bottom
boys and girls were dancing gaily, holding each other by
the hand. Before the web walked the mistress of the
house an old woman, if the name woman can be given to
a skeleton with bones scarcely hidden by a skin yellower
and more transparent than wax. Like a spider ready to
pounce upon its prey, the old woman, armed with a great
pair of shears, peered at all the figures with a jealous eye,
then suddenly fell upon the web and cut it at random, when,
lo! a piercing wail rose from it that would have moved a

heart of stone. The tears of children, the sobs of mothers,

the despair of lovers, the last murmurs of old age, all human
sorrow seemed mingled in this wail. At the sound the old
woman burst into a loud laugh, and her hideous face lighted
up with ferocious delight, while an invisible hand mended
the web, eternally destroyed and eternally repaired.
The hag, again opening her shears, was already approach-
ing theweb anew, when she saw the shadow of Carlino.
"Fly, unhappy man," cried she, without turning round;
I know what brings you here, but I can do nothing for you.
Go to my sister; perhaps she will give you what you desire.
She is Life I am Death."
Car-lino did not wait for a second bidding. He rushed
onward, too happy to escape this scene of horror.
The landscape soon changed. Carlino found himself
in a fertile valley. On every side were harvests, blossoming
fields, vines loaded with grapes, and olive-trees full of fruit.

In the thick shade of a fig-tree, by a running spring, sat a

blind woman unrolling the last gold and silver thread from
a spindle. Around her lay several distaffs, full of different

kinds of materials ready for spinning flax, hemp, wool, silk,

and others.
When she had finished her task the fairy stretched out
her trembling hand at random, took the first distaff that
came, and began to spin.
Carlino bowed respectfully to the lady, and began with
emotion to tell her the story of his pilgrimage, when the
fairy stopped him at the first word.

"My "I can do nothing for you. I am

child," said she,

only a poor blind woman that does not even know herself
what she is doing. This distaff, which I have taken at
random, decides the fate of all who are born while I am
spinning Riches or poverty, happiness or misfortune,

are attached to this thread that I cannot see. The slave

of destiny, I can create nothing. Go to my other sister;
perhaps she will give you what you desire. She is Birth;
I am Life."

''Thanks, madam," answered Carlino; and with a light

heart he ran to find the youngest of the Fates. He soon
discovered her, fresh and smiling as the spring. Every-

thing about her was taking root and germinating; the corn
was bursting through the earth and putting forth its green
blades from the brown furrows; the orange-blossoms were

opening; the buds on the trees were unfolding their pink

scales; the chickens, scarcely feathered, were running
round the anxious hen, and the lambs were clinging to
their mother. It was the first smile of life.

The fairy received the prince with kindness. After listen-

ing to him without laughing at his folly, she asked him
to sup with her, and at dessert gave him three citrons, and a
beautiful knife with a mother-of-pearl handle.

"Carlino," said she, "you can now return to your father's

house. The prize is gained; you have found what you have
been seeking. Go, then, and when you have reached your
kingdom, stop at the first fountain that you see and cut one
of these citrons. A fairy will come forth, who will ask
you for a drink. Give her the water quickly, or she will

slip through your fingers like quicksilver. If the second

escapes you in the same way, have an eye to the last; give
her a drink instantly, and you will have a wife according to

your heart."
Intoxicated with joy, the prince kissed again and again
the charming hand that crowned his wishes. He was more

happy than wise, and little deserved to succeed; but fairies

have their caprices, and Fortune is always a fairy.

It was a long distance from the end of the world to the

kingdom of the Vermilion Towers. Carlino experienced

more than one storm and braved more than one danger
on his way across land and sea, but at last, after a long
he reached his father's coun-
voyage and a thousand trials,

try with his three citrons, which

he had treasured like the

apple of his eye.

He was not more than two hours' journey from the royal
castle when he entered a dense forest where he had hunted

many a time. A
transparent fountain, bordered with wild
flowers and shaded by the trembling leaves of the aspen,
invited the traveler to repose. Carlino seated himself on a
carpet of verdure enameled with daisies, and, taking
knife, cut one of the citrons.
All at once a young girl as white as milk and as red as
a strawberry darted past him like lightning. "Give me a
drink!" said she, pausing an instant.
"How beautiful she is!" cried the prince, so ravished by
her charms that he forgot the advice of the Fate. He paid
dearly for it; second the fairy had disappeared. Car-
in a

lino smote his breast in despair, and stood as astonished as

a child that sees the running water slip through his fingers.
He calm himself, and cut the next citron with a
tried to

trembling hand, but the second fairy was even more beauti-
ful and more fleeting than her sister. While Carlino ad-
mired her, wonder-struck, in the twinkling of an eye she
took flight.
This time the prince burst into tears and wept so bitterly
that he seemed a part of the fountain. He sobbed, tore his
hair, and called down all the maledictions of Heaven on his

"Fool that I am!" he cried; "twice I have
her escape

as though my hands were tied. Fool that I am, I deserve

my fate. When I should have run like a greyhound I stood

still like a post. A fine piece of business! But all is not
lost; the third time conquers. I will try the magic knife
once more, and if it deceives me this tune I will use it on

He cut the last citron. The third fairy darted forth and
said, like hercompanions, "Give me a drink!" But the
prince had learned a lesson. He instantly gave her the
water, when, lo a beautiful, slender young girl, as white as

milk, with cheeks like roses, stood before him, looking like a
freshly opened rosebud. She was a marvel of beauty
such as the world had never seen, as fresh as a lily and as
graceful as a swan; her hair was of brighter gold than the

sun, her clear blue eyes revealed the depths of her heart,
her rosy lips seemed made only to comfort and charm;
in a word, from head to foot she was the most enchanting
creature that had ever descended from heaven to earth.
It isa great pity that we have no likeness of her.
At the sight of his bride the prince almost lost his reason
from joy and surprise. He could not understand how this

miracle of freshness and beauty had sprung from the bitter

rind of a citron.
"Am I asleep?" he cried. dreaming? If I am
"Am I

the sport of a delusion, for pity's sake do not awaken me."

The fairy's smile soon reassured him. She accepted his
hand, and was the first to ask to repair to the good king
of the Vermilion Towers, who would be so happy to bless

his children.

"My love," answered Carlino, "I am as impatient as you

and to prove to him that I was but
to see my father right;

we cannot enter the castle arm in arm like two peasants.

You must go like a princess; you must be received like a
queen. Wait for me by this fountain;
I will run to the

palace, and return in two hours with a dress and equipage

worthy of you." Saying this, he tenderly kissed her hand
and left her.
The young girl was afraid, on finding herself alone; the

cry of a raven, the rustling of the trees,

a dead branch
broken by the wind, everything frightened her. She
looked tremblingly about her, and saw an old oak by the
side of the fountain whose huge trunk offered her a shelter.
She climbed the tree and hid herself in it, all but her lovely
face, which, encircled by the foliage, was reflected in the

transparent fountain as in a clear mirror.

Now there was a negress, by the name of Lucy, who lived

in the neighborhood, and who was sent every day by her

mistress to the fountain for water. Lucy came, as usual,
with her pitcher on her shoulder, and just as she was about
to fill it, she spied the image of the fairy in the spring.
The fool, who had never seen herself, thought that the
face was her own. "Poor Lucy!" she cried. "What!
you, so fresh and beautiful, are forced by your mistress to
carry water like a beast of burden! No, never!" And in

her vanity she dashed the pitcher to the ground and

returned home.
AVhen her mistress asked her why she had broken the
pitcher, the slave shrugged her shoulders and said, "The
pitcher that goes often to the well is soon broken." Upon
this her mistress
gave her a little wooden cask and
ordered her to go back immediately and fill it at the

The negress ran to the spring, and, gazing lovingly at
the beautiful image in the water, sighed and said, "No,
I am not an ape, as I am so often told; I am more beautiful
than my Mules may carry casks
mistress. not I!" She
dashed the cask on the ground, broke it in a thousand

pieces, and returned to her mistress, grumbling.

"Where is the cask?" asked her mistress, who was waiting
impatiently for the water.
"A mule ran against me and knocked it down, and it is

all broken to pieces."

At these words her mistress Seizing a
lost patience.

broom, she gave the negress one of those lessons that are
not soon forgotten; then, taking down a leathern bottle
that was hanging on the wall, "Run, wretched ape," she
said; "and if you do not instantly bring this back to me
full of water, I will beat you within an inch of your life."
The negress took to her heels in terror, and filled the bot-
tle obediently; but when it was filled she stopped to look
once more in the fountain; and seeing the lovely face
reflected there, "No!" she cried, in a burst of anger
I will not be a water-carrier; no, I was not made to serve
my mistress like a dog."

Saying this,she took from her hair the great pin that
held it, and pierced the bottle through and through. The
water spouted out every direction. At the sight the

fairy in the tree burst into a fit of laughter. The negress

looked up, saw the beautiful stranger, and understood the
"Oh!" said she to herself, "so you are the cause of my
beating; no matter, you shall pay me well for it." Then,
raising her voice, she called, in her sweetest tones, "What
are you doing up there, lovely lady?"
The fairy, who was as good as she was beautiful, tried to
comfort the slave by talking with her. The acquaintance
was soon made; an innocent soul is unsuspicious in friend-
ship. The fairy, without distrust, told the negress all that
had happened to her and the prince, why she was alone
in the forest, and how she was every instant
Carlino with a grand equipage to conduct his bride to the
king of the Vermilion Towers, and to marry her there in
the presence of all the court.
hearing this story, the wicked and envious negress
conceived an abominable idea. "Madame," said she, "if
the prince is coming with all his suite, you must be ready

to meet him. Your hair is ah in disorder; let me come

to you, and I willcomb it."
"With pleasure," answered the fairy, with a gracious
smile, as she stretched out a little white hand, which looked,
in Lucy's great black paw, like a crystal mirror in an ebony
No sooner had she climbed the tree than the wicked slave
untied the fairy's hair and began to comb it; then, all at
once, taking her great hair-pin, she pierced her to the brain.
Feeling herself wounded, the fairy cried, "Palomba! Palom-
ba!" when she instantly turned to a wood-pigeon and flew
away. The horrible negress took her victim's place, and
stretched out her neck among the foliage, looking like a
statue of jet in a niche of emerald.
Meanwhile the prince, mounted on a magnificent horse,
was riding thither at full speed, followed by a long cavalcade.
Poor Carlino was astonished to find a crow where he had
left a swan. He almost lost his reason, his voice was choked
with tears, and he gazed in all directions, hoping to see his
bride among the foliage. But the negress, putting on a
suffering air, said to him, casting down her eyes, "Look no
farther, my prince; a wicked fairy has made me her victim,
and a wretched fate has changed your lily to charcoal."

Though he cursed the fairies who had played on his credu-

lity, Carlino, like a true prince, would not break his word.
He gallantly gave his hand to Lucy and helped her to
descend from the tree, all the while heaving sighs that
would have melted a heart of stone. When the negress
was dressed a princess, and covered with lace and

diamonds that adorned her as the stars adorn the night,

by rendering the darkness still more visible, Carlino seated
her at his right hand, in a magnificent carriage lined with
plate-glass and drawn by six white horses, and took his way
to the palace, as happy as a criminal with the rope about his
The old king came to meet them a league from the castle.
The wonderful stories of his son had turned his brain. In
spite of etiquette and against the remonstrances of his

courtiers,he hastened to admire the incomparable beauty

of his daughter-in-law. "Upon my word," he exclaimed,
at the sight of a crow instead of the dove that had been
promised him "upon my word, this is too much. I knew
that my son was mad, but I did not know that he was
blind. Is this the spotless lily that he has been to the end
of the world to seek? Is this the rose fresher than the
morning dew, the miracle of beauty that has come from the
rind of a citron? Does he think that I will bear this new
insult to gray hairs? Does he think that I will leave
to mulatto children the empire of the Vermilion Towers,
the glorious inheritance of my ancestors? This baboon
shall never enter my palace."
The prince fell at his father's feet and tried to move him.
The prime minister, a man of great experience, remon-
strated with his master that, at court, black often becomes
white and white black in the space of twenty -four hours;
and that there was no reason to be astonished at such a
very natural metamorphosis. What was the king of
the Vermilion Towers to do? He was a king and a father,
and by this double always accustomed to do the will

of others. He yielded and consented with a bad grace to

this strange union. The court gazette announced to the
whole kingdom the happy choice that the prince had made,
and ordered the people to rejoice. The wedding was post-
poned for a week; it was impossible to make the prepara-

ceremony in less time than this.

tions for the

The negress was lodged in a magnificent suite of apart-

ments; countesses disputed with one another the honor of
putting on her slippers; and duchesses obtained, not with-
out difficulty, the glorious privilege of handing her her
nightgown. The town and castle were adorned with flags
of all colors; walls were thrown down, yews were planted,
walks were graveled, old speeches were furbished up, stale
compliments were newly framed, and poems and sonnets
that had done duty everywhere were patched up anew.
There was but one idea in the kingdom that of thankful-
ness to the prince for having chosen a wife so
worthy of
The kitchen was not forgotten. Three hundred scull-

ions, a hundred cooks, and fifty stewards set to work,

under the superintendence of the famous Bouchibus, the
chief of the royal kitchens. Pigs were killed, sheep cut up,
capons larded, pigeons plucked, and turkeys spitted; it was a
universal massacre. It is impossible to have a feast worthy
of the name without the help of the poultry-yard.
In the midst of this bustle a beautiful wood-pigeon, with
blue wings, perched on one of the kitchen windows, and
cooed, in a plaintive voice,

"Bouchibus, tell me, for you must know, sure,

What has Carlino to do with the Moor?"

The great Bouchibus was at first too busy with public

affairs to attend to the cooing of a pigeon; but after a
while he began to be astonished at
understanding the
language of birds, and thought it his duty to inform his
new mistress of the wonder. The negress did not disdain
to go to the kitchen. As soon as she heard the with song,
a cry of affright, she ordered Bouchibus to catch the
and make a stew of it.
No sooner said than done. The poor bird suffered itself
to be caught without resistance. In an instant Bouchibus,
armed with his great knife, cut off its head and threw it

into the garden. Three drops of blood fell on the ground;

and three days after there sprang from the earth a beautiful
citron-tree, which grew so fast that before night it was in
The prince, while taking the air in his balcony, chanced to

spy a citron-tree which he had never seen before. He

called the cook and asked him who had planted this beauti-
ful tree. The story of Bouchibus perplexed him greatly.
He at once commanded, under penalty of death, that no
one should touch the citron-tree, and that the greatest
care should be taken of it.
The next morning, as soon as he awoke, the prince hast-
ened to the garden. There were already three citrons
on the tree three citrons exactly like those which the Fate
had given him. Carlino gathered them, hastened to his
apartments, and shut himself up under lock and key. With
a trembling hand he filled a golden cup, set with rubies,
10 133
which had belonged to his mother, with water, and opened
the magic knife, which had never left him.
He cut a citron, and the first fairy came forth. Carlino

scarcely glanced at her, and suffered her to take flight. It

was the same with the second; but as soon as the third
appeared he gave her the cup, from which she drank with a
smile, and stood before him more graceful than ever.
The fairy then told Carlino all that she had suffered from
the wicked negress. The prince, beside himself with
mingled joy and anger, laughed and wept, sang and raved.
The king, hearing the noise, ran to see what was the matter,
and you may judge of his surprise. He danced about like

a madman, with his crown on his head and his scepter in his

hand. All at once he stopped short, bent his brow, which

was a sign that a thought had struck him, threw a large
veil over the princess which covered her from head to foot,
and taking her by the hand, led her to the dining-room.
It was the hour for breakfast. The ministers and cour-
tiers were ranged round a long table, magnificently served,

waiting for the entrance of the royal family to be seated.

The king called the guests one after another, and, raising
the veil as each approached the fairy, asked:
"What shall be done to the person who sought to destroy
this marvel of beauty?"
And each one, wonder-struck, answered in his own way.
Some said that the author of such a crime deserved a
hempen cravat; others thought that the wretch should
be thrown into the water with a stone to his neck. Behead-
ing seemed to the old minister too mild a punishment for
such a villain; he was in favor of flaying him alive, and all
present applauded his humanity.
When the negress's turn came she approached without
suspicion, and did not recognize the fairy. "Sire," said
she, "a monster capable of injuring this charming creature
deserves to be roasted alive in an oven, and to have his
ashes thrown to the winds."
"You have pronounced your own sentence," cried the
king of the Vermilion Towers. "Wretch, behold your
victim and prepare to die. Let a funeral pile be built in the

square in front of the castle. I will give my good people

the pleasure of seeing a witch burn; it will occupy them
for an hour or two."

"Sire," said the young taking the king's hand,

"Your Majesty surely will not refuse me a wedding gift?"
"No, indeed, my child," replied the old king. "Ask
what you will; should it be my crown, I will gladly give

it to you."

"Sire," continued the fairy, "grant me this wretched

creature's pardon. An ignorant and miserable slave, life

has taught her nothing but hatred and malice; let me

render her happy and teach her that the only happiness
on earth consists in loving others."
daughter," said the king, "it is very evident that
you are a fairy; you know nothing of human justice.
Among us, we do not reform the wicked, we kill them; it
is sooner done. But
have givenI my word. Tame this

serpent at your own risk and peril; I am willing."

The fairy raised the negress, who kissed her hands, weep-

ing; then they all sat down The king Was so

to the table.

happy that he ate enough for four. As for Carlino, who

kept his eyes fixed on his bride, he cut his thumb five or
six times in a fit of absent-mindedness, which each time

put him in the best humor imaginable. Everything gives

us pleasure when the heart is happy.
When the old king died, full of years and honor, Carlino
and his lovely wife ascended the throne in turn. For half a
century, if history is to be believed, they neither raised the

taxes, shed a drop of blood, nor caused a tear to fall; and

although more than a thousand years have passed since
then, the good people of the Vermilion Towers still sigh
at the mention of this distant age, and little children are
not the only ones to ask when the fairies will reign again.
Story of

O upon a time there was a handsome hen who
a great lady in the poultry-yard of a
lived like
rich farmer, surrounded by a numerous family which

clucked about her, and none of which clamored more loudly

or picked up the corn faster with his beak than a poor
little deformed and crippled chicken. This was precisely
the one that the mother loved best. It is the way with
all mothers; the weakest and most unsightly are always

their favorites. This misshapen creature had but one eye,

one wing, and one leg in good condition; it might have been
thought that Solomon had executed his memorable sen-
tence on Coquerico, for that was the name of the wretched
chicken, and cut him in two with his famous sword. When
a person one-eyed, lame, and one-armed, he may reason-

ably be expected to be modest; but our Castilian ragamuffin

was prouder than his father, the best spurred, most elegant,
bravest, and most gallant cock to be seen from Burgos
to Madrid. He thought himself a phoenix of grace and
beauty, and passed the best part of the day in admiring
himself in the brook. one of his brothers ran against

him by accident, he abused him, called him envious and

in battle; if the
jealous, and risked his only remaining eye
hens clucked on seeing him, he said it was to hide their
spite because he did not condescend to look at them.
One day, when he was more puffed up with vanity than
usual, he resolved no longer to remain in such a narrow

sphere, but to go out into the world, where

he would be
better appreciated.

"My lady mother," said he, "I am tired of Spain; I am

going toRome to see the pope and cardinals."
"What are you thinking of, my poor child!" cried his
mother. "Who has put such a folly into your head?
Never has one been known to quit his country,
of our family

and for this reason we are the honor of our race, and are
proud of our genealogy. Where will you find a poultry-

yard like this mulberry -trees to shade you, a whitewashed

henroost, a magnificent dunghill, worms and corn every-
where, brothers that love you, and three great dogs to guard
you from the foxes? Do you not think that at Rome itself
will regret the ease and plenty of such a life?"
Coquerico shrugged his crippled wing in token
of disdain.

"You are a simple woman, my good mother," said he;

"everything is accounted worthy of admiration by
who has never quitted his dunghill. But I have wit
enough to see that my brothers have no ideas and that my
cousins are nothing but rustics. My genius is stifling in
this hole; I wish to roarn the world and seek my fortune."

"But, my son, have you never looked in the brook?"

resumed the poor hen. "Don't you know that you lack
an eye, a leg, and a wing? To make your fortune, you
need the eyes of a fox, the legs of a spider, and the wings
of a vulture. Once outside of these walls, you are lost."

"My good mother," replied Coquerico, "when a hen

hatches a duck she is always frightened on seeing it run
to the water. You know me no better. It is my nature
to succeed by my wit and talent. I must have a public
capable of appreciating the charms of my person ; my place
is not among inferior people."

"My son," said the hen, seeing all her counsels useless

"my son, listen at least to your mother's last words. If

you go to Rome, take care to avoid St. Peter's Church;

the saint, it is said, dislikes cocks, especially when they
crow. Shun, moreover, certain personages called cooks
and scullions; you will know them by
paper caps,their

their tucked-up sleeves, and the great knives which they

wear at their sides. They are licensed assassins, who
track our steps without pity and cut our throats without

giving us time to cry mercy. And now, my child," she

added, raising her claw, "receive my blessing. May St.

James, the patron saint of pilgrims, protect thee!"

Coquerico pretended not to see the tear that trembled in
his mother's eye, nor did he trouble himself any more about
his father, who bristled his plumage and seemed about

to call him back. Without caring for those whom he left

behind, he glided through the half-open door and, once

outside, flapped his only wing and crowed three times, to
" "
celebrate his freedom Cock-a-doodle-doo !

As he hopped over the fields, he came to the

half flew, half
bed of a brook which had been dried up by the sun. In
the middle of the sands, however, still trickled a tiny thread

of water, so small that it was choked by a couple of dead

leaves that had fallen into it.

"My friend," exclaimed the streamlet at the sight of our

traveler my friend, you see my weakness; I have not even
the strength to carry away these leaves which obstruct my
passage, much less to make a circuit, so completely am I
exhausted. With a stroke of your beak you can restore
me to life. I am not an ingrate; if you oblige me, you may
count on my gratitude the first rainy day, when the water
from heaven shall have restored my strength."
"You are jesting," said Coquerico. "Do I look like one
whose business it is to sweep the brooks? Apply to those

of your own sort." And with his sound leg, he leaped

across the streamlet.
"You will remember me when you least
expect it,"
murmured the brook, but with so feeble a voice that it was
lost on the proud cock.
A little farther on, Coquerico saw the wind lying breath-
less on the ground.
"Dear Coquerico, come to my aid," it cried; "here on
earth we should help one another. You see to what I am
reduced by the heat of the day; I, who in former times
uprooted the olive-trees and lashed the waves to frenzy,
lie here well-nigh slain by the dog-star. I suffered myself
to be lulled to sleepby the perfume of the roses with which
I was playing; and, lo! here I am, stretched almost lifeless
upon the ground. If you will raise me a couple of inches
with your beak and fan me a little with your wing, I shall
have the strength to mount to yonder white clouds which
I see in the distance, where I shall receive aid enough from
my family to keep me alive till I gain fresh strength from
the next whirlwind."

"My lord," answered the spiteful Coquerico, "Your Excel-

lency has more than once amused himself by playing tricks
at my expense. It is not a week since your lordship glided
like a traitor behind me and diverted himself by opening

my tail like a fan and covering me with confusion in the

face of nations. Have patience, therefore, my worthy
friend; mockers always have their turn; it does them good
to repent and to learn to respect those whose birth, wit,
and beauty should screen them from the jests of a fool."
And Coquerico, bristling his plumage, crowed three times
in his shrillest voice and proudly strutted onward.
A little farther on he came to a newly mown field where
the farmers had piled up the weeds in order to burn them.

Coquerico approached a smoking heap, hoping to find some

stray kernels of corn, and saw a little flame which was
charring the green stalks without being able to set them
on fire.

"My good friend," cried the flame to the new-comer,

"you are just in time to save my life; I am dying for want
of air. cannot imagine what has become of my cousin,

the wind, who cares for nothing but his own amusement.
Bring me
a few dry straws to rekindle my strength, and

you will not have obliged an ingrate."

"Wait a moment," said Coquerico, "and I will serve you
as you deserve, insolent fellow that dares ask my help!"
And behold! he leaped on the heap of dried weeds, and

trampled it down till he smothered both flame and smoke;

afterwhich he exultiugly shouted three times, "Cock-a-
doodle-doo!" and flapped his wings, as if he had done a
great deed.
Proudly strutting onward and crowing, Coquerico at last
arrived at Rome, the place to which all roads lead. Scarcely
had he reached the city when he hastened to the great
Church of St. Peter. Grand and beautiful as it was, he
did not stop to admire it, but, planting himself in front of
the main entrance, where he looked like a fly among the

great columns, he raised himself on tiptoe and began to

shout, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" only to enrage the saint and
disobey his mother.
He had not yet ended his song when one of the pope's
guard, who chanced to hear him, laid hands on the insolent
wretch who dared thus to insult the saint, and carried him
home in order to roast him for supper.

"Quick!" said he to his wife on entering the house, "give

me some boiling water; here is a sinner to be punished."
"Pardon, pardon, Madame Water!" cried Coquerico.
"Oh, good and gentle water, the best and purest thing in
the world, do not scald me, I pray you!"
"Did you have pity on me when I implored your aid,
ungrateful wretch?" answered the water, boiling with
indignation. And
with a single gush it inundated him
from head to foot, and left not a bit of down on his body.
The unhappy Coquerico stripped of all his feathers, the
soldier took him and laid him on the gridiron.

"Oh, fire, do not burn me!" cried he, in an agony of

terror. "Oh, beautiful and brilliant fire, the brother of
the sun and the cousin of the diamond, spare an unhappy
creature; restrain thy ardor, and soften thy flame; do not
"Did you have pity on me when I
implored your aid,
ungrateful wretch?" answered the fire, and, fiercely blazing

with anger, in an instant it burnt Coquerico to a coal.

The soldier, seeing his roast chicken in this deplorable
condition, took him by the leg and threw him out of the
window. The wind bore the unhappy fowl to a dunghill,
where it left him for a moment.
"Oh, wind," murmured Coquerico, who still breathed,
"oh, kindly zephyr, protecting breeze, behold me cured of
my vain follies. Let me rest on the paternal dunghill."
"Let you rest!" roared the wind. "Wait, and I will
teach you how I treat ingrates." And with one blast it
sent him so high in the air that, as he fell back, he was
transfixed by a steeple.
There St. Peter was awaiting him. With his own hand
he nailed him to the highest steeple in Rome, where he is

still shown to travelers. However high placed he may be,

all despise him because he turns with the slightest wind;
black, dried up, stripped of his feathers, and beaten by the

rain, he no longer called Coquerico, but Weathercock,


and thus expiates, and must expiate eternally, his disobedi-

ence, vanity, and wickedness.


N the kingdom of Wild Oats, a happy country, a

land blessed of Heaven, where the men are always

rightand the women never wrong, there lived long

ago a king who thought of nothing but the happiness
his kingdom, and who, it is said, never was dull for lack

of amusement. Whether he was beloved by his people is

doubtful; it is certain that the courtiers had little esteem
and less love for their prince. For this reason, they had
given him the surname of King Bizarre, the only
title by

which he is known in history, as is seen in the Great Chron-

icles of the Kingdoms and Principalities of the World Which
Have Never Existed, a learned masterpiece which has im-
mortalized the erudition and criticism of the reverend
father, Dr. Melchisedec de Mentiras y Necedad.
Left a widower after a year's marriage, Bizarre had fixed
his whole affections on his son and heir, who was the most
beautiful child imaginable. His complexion was as fresh as
a rose; his beautiful hair fell in golden curls on his shoul-

ders; add to his clear blue eyes a straight nose, a small

mouth, and a dimpled chin, and you have the portrait of a
cherub. At twelve years of age this young marvel danced

enchantingly, rode like a riding-master, and fenced to per-

fection. No one could have helped being won by his smile
and the truly royal manner in which he saluted the crowd
in passing when he was in good humor. For this reason, the
voice of the people, which is never mistaken, had christened
him Prince Charming, and his name always clung to him.
Charming was as beautiful as the day; but the sun itself,
it is said, has spots, and the princes do not disdain to

resemble the sun. The child dazzled the court with his
fine mien; but there were shadows here and there which
did not escape the piercing eye of love or envy. Supple,

agile, and adriot in all kinds of bodily exercises, Charming

had an indolent mind. He
lacked application, and had
taken a fancy that he ought to know everything without
studying. It is true that governesses, courtiers, and ser-
vants had continually repeated to him that work was not
made for kings, and that a prince always knows enough
when he lavishes on poets, writers, and artists, with a prod-
igal and disdainful hand, a little of the money which the
people are too happy to offer him.
These maxims tickled Charming's pride; and at twelve
years of age the beautiful child, with precocious firmness,
had steadily refused to learn the alphabet. Three teachers,
chosen from the most able and patient instructors, a priest,
a philosopher, and a colonel, had attempted in turn to
bend his youthful obstinacy; but the priest had wasted his
philosophy, the philosopher his tactics, and the colonel his
Latin. Left master of the field of battle, Charming listened
to nothing but his caprice, and lived lawless and uncon-
strained. As stubborn as a mule, as irascible as a turkey-

cock, as dainty as a cat, and as idle as an adder, but an

accomplished prince withal, he was the pride of the beauti-
fulcountry of Wild Oats, and the hope and love of a people
that esteemed nothing in their kings but grace and beauty.


Notwithstanding he had been brought up at court, King

Bizarre was a man of sense. Charming's ignorance was far
from 'pleasing to him, and he often asked himself with
anxiety what would become of his kingdom in the hands
of a prince whom the basest of flatterers might easily deceive.
But what was he what means could he employ with
to do,
a child that a worshiped wife had bequeathed to him in
dying? Rather than see his son weep, Bizarre would have
given him his crown; his affection rendered him powerless.
Love is not blind, whatever the poets may say; alas! it
would be too happy not to see a jot. It is the torment of
him who loves to become, despite himself, the slave and
accomplice of the ingrate who feels himself beloved.

Every day, went to spend the

after the council, the king

evening with the Countess of Castro, an old lady who had

dandled him on her knees when an infant, and who alone
could recall to him the sweet memories of his childhood and
youth. She was very ugly, and something of a witch, it
is said; but the world is so wicked that we must never be-
lieve more than half its scandal. The countess had large
features and luxuriant gray hair, and it was easy to see that
she had been beautiful in former times.
One day, when Charming had been more unreasonable
than usual, the king entered the countess's house with an
anxious air, and seating himself before the card-table, began
to play a game of Patience. It was his way of diverting

his thoughts and forgetting for a few hours the cares of

royalty. Scarcely had he ranged sixteen cards in a square

when he heaved a deep sigh.
"Countess," he cried, "you see before you the most
wretched of fathers and kings. Despite his natural grace,
Charming every day becoming more wilful and vicious.

Must I leave such an heir after me, and intrust the happi-
ness of my people to a crowned fool?"
"That is the way with Nature," replied the countess;
"she always distributes her gifts with an impartial hand.
Stupidity and beauty go hand in hand, and wit and ugliness
are seldom separated. have an example of this in my

own family. A few days ago a great-grandniece was sent

to me, a child under ten years old, that has no other rela-
tive. She is as tawny as a frog, as scraggy as a spider, yet,

withal, as cunning as an ape, and as learned as a book.

Judge for yourself, sire; here is my little monster coming
to salute you."
Bizarre turned his head and saw a child that answered
in every respect to the countess's description. With
a high, round forehead, black, wild-looking eyes, rough
hair turned back in the Chinese fashion, dull, brown
skin, great white teeth, red hands, and long arms, she
was anything but a beauty. But the chrysalis gives
birth to the butterfly. Wait a few years, and you will

see what pretty women come from these frightful little

girls of ten.
The little monster approached the king, and courtesied
to him with so serious an air that Bizarre could not help

laughing, though he felt little like it.

"Who are you?" asked he, chucking the child under the

"Sire," she answered, gravely, "I am Donna Dolores

Rosario Coral Concha Balthazara Melchiora Gaspara y
11 149
Todos Santos, the daughter of the noble knight Don Pas-

quale Bartolomeo Francesco de Asiz y

"Enough," said the king. "I did not ask for your gene-
alogy; we are witnessing neither your baptism nor your
marriage. What are you commonly called?"
"Sire," replied she, "I am called Pazza."

"And why are you called Pazza?"

"Because it is not my name."
"That is strange," said the king.
"No, it is natural," replied the child. "My aunt pre-
tends that I too giddy for any saint to wish to own me
for her goddaughter, and that is why she has given me a

name that can offend no one in Paradise."

"Well answered, my child. that you are not an
I see

ordinary girl. The saints in Paradise are not always treated

with such consideration. Since you know so much, tell me
what is a wise man?"
"A wise man, one who knows what he says when
sire, is

he speaks, and what he does when he acts."

"Upon my word," exclaimed the king, "if my wise men
were what you fancied them, Iwould make the Academy of
Sciences my council of state, and would give it my kingdom
to govern. an ignorant man?"
What is

"Sire," returned Pazza, "there are three kinds of igno-

That is to say, Madcap, in Italian. It appears that a very mixed language is spoken
in the kingdom of Wild Oats.
rant men: he who knows nothing, he who talks of what he
does not know, and he who will learn nothing; all three
are fit for nothing but to be burned or hung."
"That is a proverb. Do you know what proverbs are
"Yes, sire; they are called the wisdom of nations."
"And why are they called so?"
"Because they are rnad; they say whatever you please;
they are of all colors, to suit all tastes. Proverbs are like
bells, which answer yes or no according to the humor of

their listener."

Upon which, springing with both feet from the ground,

Pazza caught a fly that was buzzing about the king's nose;
then, leaving Bizarre astonished, she took her doll and,
seating herself on the ground, began to rock it in her arms.

"Well, sire," the countess said, "what do you think of

this child?"

"She has too much wit," answered the king; "she will

not live long."

"Ah, sire," exclaimed Pazza, "you are not complimentary
to my aunt; she is considerably older than I am."

"Hush, gipsy!" said the old lady, smiling; "don't you

know that nobody lectures kings?"

"Countess," said Bizarre, "an idea has just struck me,

which is so strange that I hardly dare tell it to you; yet I
have a violent wish to carry it out. I can do nothing with
ray son; reason has no power with the stubborn child.
Who knows whether folly would not be more successful?
If I thought so, I would make Pazza Charming's teacher.
The intractable boy, who rejects all masters, might be
defenseless before a child. The only objection is that
no one will be of my opinion; I shall have everybody
against me."
"Bah!" said the countess; "everybody is so stupid
that it is a proof that you are right that you think dif-




In this manner Pazza was intrusted with the instruction

of the young prince. There was no official appointment; it
was not announced in the court gazette that the king, with
his usual wisdom, had found an unparalleled genius at the

first attempt, to whom he had confided the heart and mind

of his child; but the very next morning Charming was sent

to the countess's house, and was permitted to play with

The two children, left alone together, gazed at each
other in silence. Pazza, being the bolder, was the first to

"What is your name?" asked she.

"Those who know me call me Your Highness," answered

Charming, in a piqued tone; "those who do not know me
call me simply My Lord, and everybody says Sir to me;
etiquette requires it."
"What is etiquette?" asked Pazza.
"I don't know," replied Charming. "When I want to
jump, shout, and roll on the ground, I am told that it is
contrary to etiquette; then I keep still, and yawn for lack
of amusement that is etiquette."
"Since we are here to amuse ourselves," resumed Pazza,
"there is no etiquette needed; speak to me as if I were
your sister, and I will speak to you as if
you were my
brother. I will not call you My Lord."
"But you don't know me," said Charming.
"What does that matter?" returned Pazza; "I will love

you, that is They say that you dance beautifully;

teach me to dance, will you?"
The ice was broken; Charming took the young girl by
the waist, and in less than half an hour taught her the
last new polka.
"How well you dance!" said he. "You have caught the

step directly."
"It because you are a good teacher," she replied.

"Now it is my turn to teach you something."

She took a beautiful picture-book, and showed him fine
buildings, fishes, statesmen, parrots, scholars, curious

animals, and flowers, all of which greatly amused Charming.

"See," said Pazza, "here is the explanation of all the

pictures; read it."

"I don't know how to read," replied Charming.
"I will teach you; I will be your little tutor."
"No," replied the stubborn prince, "I do not wish to
read. My masters tire me."
"Very well; but I am not a master. See, here is an A,
a beautiful great A; say A."
"No," returned Charming, frowning, "I will never

say A."
"Not to please me?"
"No, never. Enough of this; I do not like people to
differ from me."
"Sir," said Pazza, "a polite man never refuses ladies

"I would refuse the devil in petticoats," replied the

young prince, tossing his head. "I am tired of you; let me

alone. I don't love you any longer. Call me My Lord."
"My Lord Charming, or my charming lord," said Pazza,
flushed with anger, "you shall read, or I will know the
reason why."
"I won't read."
"Will you not? One two three!"
"No! no! no!"
Pazza raised her hand, and, lo! the king's son received a
box on the ear. Pazza had been told that she was witty to
the ends of her fingers, and had been stupid enough to
believe it; it is never right to jest with children.
At this first lesson in reading, Charming turned pale and
trembled; the blood mounted to his cheeks, his eyes filled
with tears, and he gazed at his young teacher with a look
that made her start; then all at once, with a great effort, he

regained his self-possession, and said, in a tremulous voice,

"Pazza, that is A." And the same day and at one sitting
he learned all the letters of the alphabet; at the end of the
week he spelled readily, and before the month was ended
he read with ease.
King Bizarre was delighted. He kissed Pazza on both

cheeks; he insisted on having her always with him or his

son, and made this child his friend and counselor, to the

great disdain of all the courtiers. Charming, gloomy


and silent, learned all that this young mentor could teach

him, then returned to his former preceptors, whom he

astonished by his intelligence and docility. He soon knew
his grammar so well that the priest asked himself one day

whether, by chance, these definitions, which he had never

understood, had not a meaning. Charming none the less
astonished the philosopher, who taught him every evening
the opposite of what the priest had taught him in the morn-

ing. But, of all his masters, the one to whom he listened

with the least repugnance was the colonel. It is true
that Bayonet, for that was the colonel's name, was a skilful
strategist,and that he could say, like the ancient poet,
with a slight variation, "I am a man, and nothing that
pertains to the art of despatching poor human beings is

indifferent to me." It was he that initiated Charming into

the mysteries of button gaiters and shoulder-straps; it

was he that taught his pupil that the noblest study for a
prince is the drilling of battalions, and that the groundwork
of statesmanship is to have reviews in order to make war,
and to make war in order to have reviews.
This was not perhaps altogether according to Bizarre's
idea of the art of government; but he thought he could
correct any errors in the future, and besides, he was so

rejoiced at Charrning's progress that he was unwilling in

any way to meddle with the admirable \vork of an educa-
tion so long considered hopeless.

"My child," he often said, "never forget that you owe

everything to Pazza." As the king spoke thus, Pazza
gazed tenderly at the young man. Despite all her wit,
she was foolish enough to love him. Charming contented
himself with coldly answering that gratitude was a princely
virtue, and that Pazza should some day learn that her pupil
had forgotten nothing.

When Prince Charming had attained his seventeenth

year, he went one morning in search of King Bizarre, whose

health was declining and who was very desirous of seeing
his son married before his death.

"Father," said he, "I have long reflected on your wise

words. You gave me life, but Pazza has done still more in

awakening my rnind and soul. I see but one way of paying

the debt of my heart; that is, to marry the woman to whom
I am indebted for what I am. I come to ask you for
Pazza's hand."

"My dear child," answered Bizarre, "this step does you

credit. Pazza is not of royal blood; she is not the one
whom, in different circumstances, should have chosen
for your wife; but her virtues, her merit, and, above all, the
service which she has rendered us, make me forget idle

prejudices. Pazza has the soul of a queen; she shall

mount the throne with you. In the country of Wild Oats,
wit and humor are held in sufficient estimation to win you

forgiveness for what fools call a misalliance, and what I

call a princely marriage. Happy is he who can choose
an intelligent wife, capable of understanding and loving
him! To-morrow your betrothal shall be celebrated, and
in two years your marriage shall take place."
The marriage occurred more speedily than the king had
foreseen. Fifteen months after these memorable words,
Bizarre expired of languor and exhaustion. He had taken
the vocation of king in earnest; he a victim to royalty.

The old countess and Pazza wept their friend and bene-
factor,but they were the only mourners. Without being
a bad son, Charming was engrossed with the cares of the
empire; and the court expected everything from the new
reign, and thought no more about the old king, whose

eyes were closed in death.

After honoring his father's memory by magnificent
obsequies, the young prince, thenceforth wholly devoted to
love, celebrated his marriage with a splendor that charmed
the good people of Wild Oats. The taxes were doubled,
but who could regret money so nobly employed? Men
came from a hundred leagues round to gaze at the new
king, and Pazza, whose growing beauty and air of goodness
fascinated all hearts, was not less admired. There were
interminable dinners, harangues longer than the dinners,
and poems more tedious than the harangues. In a word,
it was an incomparable festival, which was talked of for
six months after.

Evening come, Charming took the hand of his graceful,

timid, and blushing bride, and with cold politeness led her
through the corridors of the old castle. All at once Pazza
was frightened to find herself in a gloomy dungeon, with
grated windows and huge bars and locks.
\Vhat is this?" asked she. "It looks
a prison." like

"Yes," said the prince, with a terrible look, "it is a prison

which you will quit only for the grave."
"My dear, you frighten me," said Pazza, smiling. "Am
I a criminal without knowing it? Have I deserved your

displeasure, that you threaten me with a dungeon?"

"You have a short memory," replied Charming. "An
insult is written on sand to the giver; it is inscribed on
marble and bronze to the receiver."

"Charming," returned the poor beginning to be


afraid, "you are repeating something from those speeches

that tired me so much. Can you find nothing better to
say to me to-day?"
"Wretch!" cried the king, "you no longer remember
the box on the ear that you gave me seven years ago,
but have not forgotten it.
I Know that if I wished

you for my wife, it has been only to have your life in

my hands and to make you slowly expiate your crime of

high treason."
"My dear," said Pazza, with a pettish manner, "you may
put on your Bluebeard airs, but you will not frighten me,
I assure you. I know
you, Charming, and I warn you
that if you do not put an end to this bad jest, I will not

only give you one box on the ear, but three, before I forgive
you. Make haste and let me go out, or I vow that I will
keep my word."
"Vow it then, madame," cried the prince, furious at not

intimidating his victim. "I accept your vow. I vow, too,

on my side, that I will never acknowledge you as my wife

till I have been base enough to receive three times an
insult which nothing but blood can wash out. He laughs
well that laughs last. Here, Rachimburg!"
At this terrible name, a jailer with a bushy beard and
threatening mien entered the room, pushed the queen on a
wretched truckle-bed, and shut and double-locked the iron
If Pazza wept, it was so quietly that no one heard her.
Tired of the silence, Charming departed, with rage in his
heart, resolving that his rigor should break the pride that
braved him. Vengeance, it is said, is the delight of kings.
hours later the countess received a note by a sure
hand acquainting her with the sad fate of her niece. How
this note reached her is known
me, but I will not betray
the secret. If a charitable jailer is found by chance, he
should be treated with consideration; the species is rare, and
is daily becoming rarer.


The next morning the court gazette announced that the

queen had been seized with a raging fit of madness on the

very night of her wedding, and that there was little hope
of saving her. There was scarcely a courtier, indeed, that
had not observed the princess's restless air on the evening
before, and no one was surprised at her malady. All

pitied the king, who received with a gloomy and constrained

mien the expressions of affection which were lavished on
him. He was doubtless weighed down with grief, but
this grief appeared very much lightened after the visit of
the countess.
The good lady was very and had a great desire to
see her poor child, but she was so old, and found herself
so weak and sensitive, that she entreated the king to spare
her a heartrending spectacle. She threw herself into
the arms of Charming, who tenderly embraced her, and
withdrew, saying that she placed her hope and trust

in the love of the king and the talent of the chief physician

of the court.

She had scarcely left the room when the physician whis-
pered a few words in Charming's ear which called to his
face a smile quickly repressed. The countess pacified,
there was nothing more to fear; the vengeance was sure.
Doctor Wieduwillst was a great physician. Born in the
country of Dreams, he had early quitted his native land to
seek his fortune in the kingdom of Wild Oats. He was too
able a man not to find it. In the five years that he had
spent in the celebrated University of Lugenmaulberg, the
medical theory had changed twenty -five times, and, thanks
to this solid education, the doctor had a firmness of prin-

ciplewhich nothing could shake. He had the frankness

and bluntness of a soldier, it was said; he swore at times,
even with ladies, a rudeness which left him at liberty
always to be of the same mind with the stronger, and to
demand a fee for having no opinion. The queen had fallen
into his incorruptible hands.
She had been imprisoned for three days, and the town
was already beginning to talk of something else, when one
morning Rachimburg abruptly entered the king's apart-
ments with a distracted air, and threw himself trembling
at his feet.
"Sire," said he, "I bring you my head. The queen has
"What do you tell me!" exclaimed the king, turning pale.
"The thing is impossible; the dungeon is barred on all

"Yes," said the jailer, "the thing is impossible, that is

certain; the bars are in their places, the walls are whole,
and neither the locks nor the bolts have been disturbed;
but there are witches world that pass through walls
in the

without moving a stone, and who knows but what the

prisoner is one of them? Was it ever known whence she
The king sent in search of the doctor. He was a strong-
minded man and had little faith in witches. He sounded
the walls, shook the bars, and cross-examined the jailer,
but all Trusty men were sent everywhere
to no purpose.

through the town, and spies were set on the countess,

whom the doctor suspected, but all in vain, and after a
week the search was abandoned. Rachimburg lost his

place as jailer, but as he possessed the royal secret, as he was

needed, and as he thirsted to avenge himself, he was made
the warden of the royal castle. Furious at his bad luck,
he exercised his supervision with such strictness that in
lessthan three days he arrested Wieduwillst himself half
a dozen times, and disarmed all suspicion.
At the end a week some fishermen brought to the
court the robe and mantle of the queen. The waves had
cast on the shore these sad relics, covered with sand and
sea-foam. That the poor mad woman had drowned her-
self no one doubted on seeing the grief of the
king and the
tears of the countess. The council was assembled. It
decided with a unanimous voice that the queen was legally
dead and that the king was legally a widower, and for the
interest of the people entreated his
majesty to abridge a
painful mourning and to marry again as soon as possible,
in order to strengthen the dynasty. This decision was
transmitted to the king by Wieduwillst, the chief physician
to the king and president of the royal council, who made
so touching a speech that the whole court burst into tears,
and Charming threw himself into the doctor's arms, calling
him his cruel friend.
It unnecessary to say that the funeral of a queen so much

lamented was magnificent. In the kingdom of Wild Oats

everything serves as a pretext for ceremony. The pageant
was worthy of admiration, but the most admirable thing in
it was the attitude of the young girls of the court. Every
one looked at Charming, who was handsomer than ever
in his mourning dress; every one wept with one eye in
honor of the princess, and smiled with the other to attract
the king. Ah! had photography only been invented, what
portraits would antiquity have transmitted to us what
models for our painters! The passions still existed among
these good people; were animated by
their mobile faces

love, hatred, and anger; to-day we are all so virtuous and

prudent that we all wear the same dress, the same hat,
and the same expression. Civilization is the triumph of
morality and the ruin of art.
After the description of the funeral ceremonies, which,

according to etiquette, filled six columns, the court gazette

laid down rules for the full and the second mourning, blue
and pink, which are the mourning colors in the kingdom
of Wild Oats. The court was required to be in deep
affliction for three weeks, and to be comforted by degrees

during the three weeks following; but carnival occurring

during the period of the second mourning, and respect
being had for trade, it was determined to give a masked ball
at the palace. and dressmakers immediately set
to work, invitations were solicited by great and small,
and men began to intrigue as if the fate of the monarchy
had been in question.
It was in this solemn manner that they mourned for poor



The great day so impatiently expected at length arrived.

For six weeks the good people of Wild Oats had been in a
fever of excitement. Nothing more was heard of ministers,

senators, generals, magistrates, princesses, duchesses, and

citizens; for
twenty leagues round, clowns, harlequins,
Punchinellos, gipsies, Columbines, and Follies alone were
to be seen. Politics were silenced, or, rather, the nation
was divided into two great parties the conservatives that
went to the ball, and the opposition that stayed at home.
If the official gazette is to be believed, the festival out-
shone in splendor all others past and to come. The ball
was held midst of the gardens, in a rotunda magnif-
in the

icently decorated. A winding walk, shaded by elms and

dimly lighted by alabaster lamps, led to a hall resplendent
with gold, verdure, flowers, and light. An orchestra, half
concealed in the foliage, breathed forth music, by turns
plaintive and gay. Add to this the richness of the costumes,
the brilliancy of the diamonds, the piquancy of the masks,
and the charm of intrigue, and you will see that it would
have needed the soul of an ancient Stoic to resist the intoxi-

cation of pleasure.
12 165
Yet Prince Charming was not amused. Concealed under
a blue domino, with his face entirely masked, he had
addressed himself to the most elegant and sprightly women,
and had lavishly displayed his wit and grace, yet he had
met with nothing but indifference and coldness. They
scarcely listened to him, answered with a yawn, and hast-
ened to quit him. All eyes were fixed on a black domino
with pink rosettes that moved carelessly among the dancers,
receiving with the air of a sultan the compliments and
smiles that every one lavished on him. This domino was
the Lord Wieduwillst, a great friend of the prince, but still

more the friend of his own pleasure. In an unguarded

moment the doctor had said that morning by chance,
under the seal of secrecy, and to two ladies only, that the
prince would wear pink rosettes in his black domino. Was
it his fault if the ladies had been indiscreet or the prince
had changed his mind?
While the doctor was enjoying, despite himself, indeed,
his unexpected triumph, Charming seated himself in a
corner of the hall and buried his face in his hands. Alone
in the midst of the crowd, he abandoned himself to reflec-
tion, and the image of Pazza rose before him. He had no
reproaches to make himself;vengeance was just, yet

he felt an indescribable remorse. Poor Pazza! no doubt

she had been guilty; but at least she loved him, she under-
stood him, she listened to him, her eyes sparkling with joy.
How different from all who had not recognized
those fools
a prince under a doniino at the first moment by his wit!
He rose suddenly to quit the hall, when he perceived,
a little way off, a mask that had also left the crowd and
seemed contemplation. A half-open domino dis-
lost in

closed a gipsy's dress and a pair of slippers with buckles,

containing a foot smaller than that of Cinderella.

The king approached the stranger, and saw through the
velvet mask a pair of large black eyes, the melancholy
glance of which surprised and charmed him.
"Fair mask," said he, "your place is not here. Why are
you not among the eager and curious crowd that is
around the prince to dispute his smile and heart? Do you
not know that there is a crown to be gained there?"
"I make no pretentions," answered the domino, in a
grave, sweet voice. "In this game of chance one runs the
risk of taking the servant for the king. I am too proud to

expose myself to such a hazard."

"But if I show you the prince?"
"What say to him?" replied the stranger. "I
could I

could not blame him without offense, or praise him with-

out flattery."
"You think much evil of him, then?"
"No, a and much good; but what does it mat-
little evil

ter?" And, opening her fan, the domino relapsed into her
This indifference surprised Charming. He addressed her
with warmth, she replied coldly; he prayed her so urgently
to listen to him that she finally consented to do so, not in

the ball-room, where the heat was overpowering and the

curiosity indiscreet, but in the long elm-walk, where a few

promenaders were seeking silence and fresh air.
The night was advancing, and the gipsy had already
spoken several times of retiring, to the great regret of the

prince, who vainly entreated her to unmask. The stranger

made no reply.
You drive me to despair," cried he, inspired with strange

respect and admiration for this mysterious figure. "Why

this cruel silence?"

"Because know you, my lord," replied the stranger,


with emotion. "Your voice, which goes to the heart, your

language, your grace, all tell me who you are. Let me go,
Prince Charming."
"No, madam," cried the prince, delighted at so much
wit, "you alone have recognized me, you alone have under-
stood me, to you belong my heart and kingdom. Throw
off that suspicious mask; this very instant we will return

to the ball-room and I will present to the ignorant crowd

the woman whom have had the happiness not to dis-

please. Say but one word, and all my people shall be

at your feet."

"My lord," replied the stranger, sadly, "permit me to

refuse an offer which does me honor and the memory of
which always preserve. I am ambitious, I own; the
I shall

time has been when I should have been proud to share your
throne and name; but before all things I am a woman
and place all my
happiness in love. I will not have a
divided heart, should my rival be only a memory; I am

jealous even of the past."

"I have never loved in my life," cried the prince, with a
vehemence that made the stranger start. "There is a
mystery concerning my marriage which I can reveal only
to my wife; but I swear to you that I have never given

away my heart; I love now for the first time."

"Show me your hand," said the gipsy, approaching the
lamp, "and let me see whether you have told the truth."
Charming extended his hand with assurance; the gipsy
studied the lines and sighed.
"You are right, my lord," said she, "you have never
loved. But appease my jealousy. Another
this does not

woman has loved you before me. These sacred bonds

are not broken by death; the queen still loves you you

belong to her. To no longer at

accept a heart which is

your disposal would be sacrilegious and criminal in me.

"Madam," said the king, with an ill-assured voice, "you
do not know what you make me suffer. There are things
which I would gladly burn in eternal silence, but which you
force me to reveal. The queen never loved me; ambition
alone dictated her conduct."
"That not so," said the stranger, letting go the prince's

hand. "The queen loved you."

"No, madam," replied Charming; "my father and I

were the victims of a detestable intrigue."

"Enough!" said the stranger, whose hands trembled and
whose fingers worked in a strange manner. "Respect the
dead; do not slander them."
"Madam," "I assure you, and none ever
said the prince,
doubted my word, that the queen never loved me. She
was a wicked woman."
"Ah!" said the domino.

"Wilful, violent, and jealous."

"If she was jealous, she loved you," interrupted the
mask. "Seek for proofs which have at least a shadow of
probability; do not accuse a heart which was wholly yours."
"So far from loving me," said the king, excitedly, "the
very night of my marriage she dared tell me to my face
that she had married me only for my crown."
"That is not true," said the gipsy, raising her hand.
"I swear it," replied Charming.
"You lie!" cried the stranger. And, lo! a box on the ear
blinded the prince; the blow was repeated, and the stranger

The king stepped back furious, and sought the hilt of his

sword; but men do
not go to balls armed as for war; for
his sole weapon he found a knot of ribbons. He ran after
his enemy, but which way had she fled? Charming lost
himself twenty times in the labyrinth; he met none but

peaceful doininos walking in couples and scarcely glancing

at him as he passed. Breathless, distracted, and desperate,
he returned to the ball-room, where he doubted not that
the stranger had taken refuge; but how was he to find her?
A brilliant idea crossed the prince's mind ; he would order
all unmask, and would doubtless see the gipsy, con-
founded by the king's presence and betrayed by her own
agitation. He instantly leaped on a chair, and exclaimed
in a loud voice that caused every one to start :

"Ladies and gentlemen, day is approaching and pleasure

languishing; let us revive mirth by a new caprice.
is Off

with the masks! I set the example; let all who love me
follow it."
He threw domino, raised his mask, and appeared in
off his

the richest and most elegant Spanish costume ever worn by

prince. There was a general outcry; all eyes were at first

turned toward the king, then toward the black domino
with pink rosettes, who retreated as fast as possible with a
modesty that was not affected. All unmasked. The
ladies gathered round the king, who, it was remarked, had
the most violent fancy for the gipsy costume. Young or
old, all the gipsies received his homage;
he took them by
the hand and gazed at them with an air which made all
the other masks ready to burst with envy, then made a

sign to the orchestra; the dance recommenced, and the

prince disappeared.
He hastened again to the elm-walk in search of the trait-

ress who had insulted him, doubtless led by vengeance. His

blood boiled in his veins; he wandered at random, suddenly

stopping short, looking, listening, and spying in all direc-

tions. At the faintest gleam of light through the foliage
he sprang forward like a madman, laughing and weeping
at the same time as though distracted.
At the turn of an alley he met Rachimburg advancing
toward him trembling, with an air of terror.
"Sire," murmured he, in a mysterious voice, "has Your
Majesty seen it?"
"What?" asked the king.
"The specter; it passed close by me. I am a lost man;
I shall die to-morrow."
"What specter?" said Charming. "What fool's tale are

you telling me?"

"A specter a domino with flashing eyes, that threw me
on my knees and boxed my ears twice."
"It is she!" cried the king; "it is she! Why did you let
her go?"
"Your Majesty, I had not my pike; but if ever I see her

again I will knock her down."

no such thing!" returned the king. "If ever she
returns, do not frighten her; follow her and discover her
retreat. But where is she? Which way did she go? Lead
me; if I find her your fortune is made."
"Sire," said the honest porter, looking at the moon,
"if the specter is anywhere, it must be up yonder; I saw
it, as plainly as I see Your Majesty, dissolving in mist.
But before taking flight it gave me a message for Your
"What? Speak quickly!"
Sire, its words were terrible; I shall never dare repeat

them to Your Majesty."

"Speak, I order you."
"Sire, the specter said, in a sepulchral voice, 'Tell the

king that if he marries again he is a dead man. The loved

one will return."
"Here," said the prince, whose eyes shone with a strange
luster, "take this purse. Henceforth I attach you to my

person; I appoint you my first attendant, counting on your

devotion and prudence. Let this affair remain a secret
between us."
"That makes two," murmured Rachimburg, as he de-
parted with a firm tread, like a man who neither suffers
himself to be cast down by fear or dazzled by good fortune.

He was a strong-minded man.

The next morning the court gazette contained the fol-

lowing lines, in the form of a letter without signature, in
the unofficial part of the paper:
"A rumor has been spread that the king is thinking of
marrying again. The king knows what he owes to his
people, and is always ready to sacrifice himself for the

happiness of his subjects. But the people of Wild Oats

have too much delicacy not to respect a recent affliction.
The king's whole thoughts are fixed on his beloved wife;

he hopes the consolation from time that is at present

refused him."
This note threw the court and town in agitation. The
young girls thought the scruples of the prince exaggerated;
more than one mother shrugged her shoulders, and said that
the king had vulgar prejudices worthy only of the common

people; but at night there was strife in every well-ordered

household. There was not a wifeany pretensions to

aristocratic birth that did not quarrel with her unworthy

spouse and force him to admit that there was but one
heart capable of love, and but one faithful husband in the
whole kingdom, namely, Prince Charming.


After so much excitement, the king was seized with a

cruel fit of tedium. To divert himself, he attempted every
kind of pleasure; he hunted, he presided over his council,
he went to the play and the opera, he received all the state
corporations with their wives, he read a Carthaginian novel,
and reviewed the troops half a score of times; but all in
vain: an inexorable memory, an ever-present image left
him no rest or peace. The gipsy pursued him even in his
dreams; he saw her, he talked to her, and she listened to
him; but, by some unaccountable fatality, as soon as she
raised her mask, Pazza's pale, sad face always appeared.
The doctor was the only confidant to whom Charming
could avow his remorse, but at his word Wieduwillst
burst into laughter.
" "
The effect of habit, sire," he said. Gain time, multiply
impressions, and all will be effaced."
To procure the prince excitement and to drive away
sorrow by a bold diversion, the doctor supped every evening
alone with His Majesty, and poured out intoxication and

forgetfulness with a liberal hand. Wieduwillst did not

spare himself, but wine had little effect on his strong

brain; he would have defied Bacchus and Silenus together
with Charming. While the prince, by turn noisy and
silent, plunged into the extremes of joy and sadness, al-

ways restless and never happy, Wieduwillst, calm and

smiling, directed his thoughts, and through pure goodness
of soul took upon himself all the fatigue and care of the

Three decrees had already placed in his hands the police,
the courts, and the finances. The doctor well understood
all the advantages of centralization.The way in which he
administered the taxes relieved him from all personal
anxiety for the future. The courts punished those who
clamored too loudly the police silenced those who whispered

too much. Nevertheless, in spite of the ability of these

political schemes, the people, always ungrateful, did not

appreciate their happiness. The inhabitants of Wild

Oats delight in complaining; the pleasure was spoiled
for them.
King Bizarre's name was in all hearts and every one
regretted the good old times when they shouted over the
roof-tops that they were gagged.
The doctor was ambitious; he was born for a prime
minister. Every morning some new ordinance made the
people that the king was nothing and the minister

everything. Charming was the only one that did not

perceive his nothingness. Shut tip in his palace, and dying
of ennui, his solecompanion was a page placed near him
by the prime minister on Rachimburg's recommendation.
Frolicsome, chattering, and indiscreet, a good musician
and capital card-player, Tonto, for that was the page's
name, amused the king by his pranks; he pleased the prime
minister no less, but by other virtues. Devoted to his

benefactor, the good-natured page innocently repeated to

him the most trifling an easy task,
words of the prince
moreover, as the king was constantly dreaming and never
It is a have the advantages of power; but
fine thing to

appetite comes by eating even with ministers. The am-

bitious doctor began to desire both the honors and luster of

royalty. Charming's best friend did not once think of

dethroning him; nations sometimes have foolish prejudices
and but nothing was easier than to
cling to old habits,
frighten a sick prince and send him afar off in search of a
cure that would be long coming, while in his absence the
doctor would reign as his proxy.
Charming was young; he still clung to life, and, more-
over,how could he resist the tender solicitude of the good
doctor? The three most renowned physicians of the
faculty met one evening in consultation at the palace-
long Tristram, fat Jocundus, and little Guilleret, three

celebrated men three geniuses who had made their for-

tune, each with one idea, which had been the reason why
they had never had any more.
After the king had been cross-questioned, looked at,
handled, auscultated, and turned round again and again,
Tristram spoke first, in a rude voice.
"Sire," said he, "you must be bled like a peasant, and
live without any exertion whatever. Your disease is a
deficiency of blood, a constitutional atony. Nothing but a
journey to the Clear Waters can cure you. Go quickly,
or you are a dead man. You have my opinion."
"Sire," said fat Jocundus, "I fully share the admirable
opinion of my dear professional brother. You are suffer-
ing from superabundant vitality. Your disease is a con-
stitutional plethora. Go, drink the Clear Waters, and you
will be a well man again. You have my opinion."
"Sire," said little Guilleret, "the diagnostic of my masters
fills me with admiration. I bow before their learning.
Like them, I believe that you are suffering from disorder
of the sympathetic nerves. Your disease is a constitutional
nervousness. Drink the Clear Waters. Go quickly, or you
are a dead man. You have my opinion."
A unanimous opinion was drawn up and immediately
carried to the court gazette by Tonto; and the three doc-
tors rose, bowed to the minister and the king, shook hands
with one another, and went down-stairs quarreling or laugh-
ing, I know not which; the chronicle is almost illegible,

owing to a large blot in this place.

After the three physicians had gone, Wieduwillst read the

opinion, reflected deeply, and looked at the king. Charm-

ing, who had supped a little better this evening even than
usual, had not once listened to the doctors, but sat gazing
around him with bloodshot eyes.
"Sire," said he, "it is the unanimous opinion of these
gentlemen that, if you wish to be cured, you must go to
the Clear Waters and abandon the affairs of state. Such
a resolution appears to me unworthy of Your Royal
Majesty. A great prince should sacrifice himself for his
people, and
"Enough," said the king. "Spare me this worn-out
moralizing and come to the conclusion. You wish me to
go, mygood friend; you are dying for me to do so, for my
own interest, of course. Draw up a decree placing the
regency in your hands, and I will sign it."
"Sire, the decree is here, in your portfolio; a good
minister always has papers drawn up to suit whatever
circumstances may arise. He never knows what may
Charming took the pen, carelessly signed the decree with-
out reading it, and handed it to the minister, who ap-
proached to receive it with a smile; then, seized with
new caprice, he drew back the paper and read it.
"What!" said he, "no statement of reasons; nothing to
assure people of the kindness I bear them! Doctor,
you are too modest; to-morrow this decree shall be

the gazette, with a statement from the hand of your

friend and master. Good night; these gentlemen have

tired me."
The doctor went out with a light step, erect brow, and
ever. Charm-
sparkling eye, prouder and more insolent than
in spite of all,
ing sank again into his reverie, thinking that,
he was not the most unhappy of princes, since Heaven had
given him such a friend.
All at once the strangest little doctor that had ever been
seen in a castle entered the king's apartment unannounced.
He wore a wig with long curls, his snow-white beard fell

on his breast, and his eyes were so bright and youthful

that it seemed as though they must have come into the
world sixty years after the rest of his body.
"Where are those knaves?" cried he, with a shrill voice,

rapping on the floor with his cane. "Where are those

ignorant fellows, those pedants, those ill-bred men that
did not wait for me? Ah! soyou are the patient," said
he to the stupefied king. "That is good. Put out your
tongue. Quick! I am in a hurry."

"Who are you?" asked the king.

"I ana Doctor Truth, the greatest doctor in the world, as

you will see, in spite of my modesty. Ask Wieduwillst,

my pupil, who sent for me from the Land of Dreams. I
cure everybody, even those who are not ill. Put out your
tongue; that's right. Where is the opinion? Very well.
Atony asinis! Plethora asini! Nervousness asinorum!
Drink the Clear Waters asininum! Do you know what
is your disease? It is vexation, and even worse."

"Do you see that?" said Charming, terrified.

"Yes, my son, it is written on your tongue. But I will

cure you: it shall be done by to-morrow noon."

"To-morrow!" said the king. "All my treasures

"Silence, my son. What portfolio is that? the minis-

ter's? Good. Sign these three papers for me."
"They are blank decrees," said the king. "What do you
wish to do with them?"
"They are my Well done, my son;
ordinances. Sign.
be obedient, and to-morrow noon you shall be as gay as a
lark. First ordinance: If you would live at peace, appear
at peace; I suppress six regiments. Second ordinance: A
penny a peasant's pocket is worth twenty in the king's

treasury; I suppress one fourth of the taxes. Third

ordinance: Liberty is like the sunshine it is the happiness
and fortune of the poor; I throw open the political prisons
and demolish the debtors' prisons. You are laughing,

my son; it is a good sign when a patient laughs at his

"Yes," said Charming, "I am laughing to think of
Wieduwillst's face to-morrow on reading these ordinances
in the court gazette. Enough of these follies, buffoon

doctor; give me back the papers and put an end to this

"What is man, taking up the decree
this?" said the little

of the regency. "God forgive me! it is an abdication.

What are you thinking of, Prince Charming? What!
the inheritance bequeathed to you by your fathers, the

people intrusted to you by God, your name, your honor,

will you throw all these at the feet of an adventurer? Will
you let yourself be dethroned and duped by a deceiver?
Impossible! It does not suit me. I oppose it. Do you
"What insolent fellow addresses his prince in this way?"
"Politeness not in words. Charming, are
you mad?
Are you dreaming? Are you wholly without heart?"
"This is too much!" cried the king. "Begone, wretch, or
I will throw you out of the window."

"Begone!" said the little doctor, in a shrill voice. "No,

not till I have destroyed this mad and stupid document.
See, I tear your abdication in pieces and trample it under-

Charming seized the madman and called his guards. No

one answered. The little man struggled with wonderful
strength. With his foot he threw the lamp on the ground;
but the king, despite the darkness, kept fast hold of the
sorcerer, who felt his strength failing.
"Let me go!" murmured he; "for Heaven's sake let me
go! You know not what you are doing. You are break-
ing my arm."
His words and prayers were useless. Suddemy a shower
of blows, dealt by a strong hand, fell on the king's ears.
Charming go his hold in surprise,
let and turned to attack
his invisible enemy. He found nothing but empty space,
and, staggering in the darkness, cried loudly for the help
that did not come. Such a thing could not have happened
in a minister's house; kings are always worse guarded.



At a door opened and Rachimburg entered, accord-


ing to etiquette, to undress the king. The faithful servant

appeared greatly vexed to find him without a light, groping
along the wall.
"Where is that infernal doctor?" asked Charming,
foaming with rage.
"It is more than an hour, sire, since His Excellency

quitted the palace."

"Who is talking of Wieduwillst? " cried the king. "Which
way did the villain go that just insulted me?"
Rachimburg looked at the prince with a contrite air,
and raised his eyes to heaven, sighing.
"A man went out of the door that leads to your rooms,"
said Charming. "How did he enter, and where has he

"Sire," said Rachimburg, "I have neither quitted my post

nor seen any one."
"I tell you that a man was in this room a moment
"Sire, Your Majesty is never mistaken; if a man was in
13 183
thisroom lie is still here, unless he has flown through the
window or Your Majesty has been dreaming."
"Fool, do I look like a man who has been dreaming?
Did overturn this lamp? did I tear these papers?"

"Sire, I am nothing but a worm of the earth; God forbid

that I should contradict my sovereign. Your majesty does
not hire me to give But this year strange
him the lie.

dreams are an epidemic. No one knows what he may do

or suffer in his sleep. Only just now I was overtaken
with sleep in spite of myself, and if I were not sure that I
was dreaming I should declare that an invisible hand
boxed my ears twice, at which I awakened with a start."

"It was the specter!" said the king.

"Your Majesty is right," replied Rachimburg; "I am
nothing but a simpleton; it was the specter."
" " "
And I did not know her resumed Charming.
! Never-
theless, it was her voice and air. What
mean? does this
Is it a new insult? Is it a warning from heaven? Does
some danger threaten me? No matter, I will remain in
my kingdom. My friend, not a word of all this: take
this purse and keep the secret."
"That makes the third," murmured the faithful Rachim-
burg, as he undressed the king with a zeal and address
several times made His Majesty smile.

So many emotions one after another banished sleep; it

was daybreak before the prince dozed, and broad daylight

before he awoke. In the first moment between sleeping and
waking Charming fancied that he heard a strange noise-
bells ringing, cannon firing, and three or four bands of

music playing each a different air. He was not mistaken;

it was an infernal hubbub. The king rang. Rachimburg
entered, carrying a bouquet of flowers.
"Sire," said he, "will His Majesty permit the humblest
of his servants to be the first to express to him the universal

joy? Your people are intoxicated with love and gratitude.

The taxes lessened, the prisons opened, the army reduced!
Sire, you are the greatest prince in the world; never has
earth seen a ruler like you. Show yourself at the balcony;
answer these cries of 'Hurrah for the king!' Smile on the

people that bless you."

Rachimburg could not finish; tears choked his voice.

He attempted to wipe his eyes, but in his excitement he

took the gazette from his pocket instead of a handkerchief,
and began to kiss it like a madman.
Charming took the journal, and vainly attempted, while
dressing, to collect his ideas. By what chance had these
insane ordinances found their way into the official journal?

Who had sent them? Why did not Wieduwillst make his

appearance? The prince wished to reflect, consult, and

question; but the people were under the windows, and
their majesties were too impatient to wait.
As soon as the king appeared in the balcony he was
greeted with shouts of enthusiasm, which, despite every-
thing, thrilled his heart. Men tossed their caps in the air,
women waved their handkerchiefs, mothers lifted up their
children and made them stretch their innocent hands to
heaven, and repeat, "Hurrah for the king!" The guns of
the palace guards were decked with flowers, the drums
beat, and the officers' swords flashed in the sun. It was
a scene of delirious joy. Charming was infected by the
general emotion; he wept without exactly knowing why.
At that instant the clock struck noon. The specter was
right the prince was cured.
After the crowd it was the turn of the corporations, all of
whom, the ministers at the head, came to congratulate and
thank the king for having so well understood the wishes
of his faithful counselors. A single person was lacking,

namely, Wieduwillst. None knew where he had hidden

his ignorance and A
mysterious note received by
him that morning had occasioned his flight, yet this note
contained only the words, The king knows all! Who had
written this fatal letter? Not he alone, per-
the prince;

haps, in the palace, thought of the minister, and wondered

at not seeing him by his side.
All at once Tonto entered, pale and haggard. He ran to
the king and gave him a letter which an officer had brought
at full gallop. The governor of the province, General Bay-
onet, sent terrible news; the six disbanded regiments had
mutinied, headed by \Vieduwillst. The rebels had pro-
claimed the downfall of the king, whom they accused of
abominable crimes, especially of the murder of the queen.
Numerous and well commanded, they were approaching
the city, which was defended only by a few doubtful and
disaffected regiments. Bayonet entreated the king to
come instantly and take command; an hour later, and all

would be lost.

Hurried on by Tonto and Rachimburg, the king secretly

quitted the palace, followed by a few officers.
A proclama-
tion, placarded on all the walls of the city and at every
corner of the streets, declared that there was no truth in
the rumors spread by a few malicious persons, and that
the army had never been more devoted or faithful. Upon
this therewas a universal panic; stocks fell 50 per cent,
in half an hour, and did not rise again till unofficial news

arrived that the king had been well received at head-




The news was false; the prince had been received with

great coldness. It was his ownSad, despondent,


and abstracted, Charming had neither found a jest for the

soldiers nor a word of trust for the officers. He entered
the general's tent and fell into a chair. Tonto was little

less disheartened.
"Sire," said Bayonet, "permit me to speak to you with
the frankness of a soldier and the freedom of an old
friend. The army is murmuring and hesitating; we must
secure it, or all is lost. The enemy is in sight; we must
attack him. Five minutes sometimes decide the fate of
empires; it is so with us now. Do not wait till it is

too late."

"Very well," said the king. "To horse! in an instant I

willbe with you."

Left alone with Tonto and Rachimburg, the king ex-
claimed, in despair, "My good friends, quit a master who
can do no more for you. I shall not dispute my wretched
life with my enemies. Betrayed in friendship and treacher-
ously assassinated, I recognize in my misfortune the hand
of an avenging God. It is in punishment for my crime.
I killed the queen in my stupid vengeance; the hour has
come to expiate my fault, and I am ready."
"Sire," said Tonto, trying to smile, "shake off these sad
thoughts. If the queen were here she would tell you to
defend yourself. Believe me," he added, twisting his

budding mustache, "I am acquainted with women! Were

they dead, they would still love to avenge themselves.
Besides, you did not kill the queen; and perhaps she is not
so dead as you imagine."
"What do you say?" exclaimed the king; "you are losing
your reason."
"I say that there are women who die expressly to enrage
their husbands; why should there not be those that would
risefrom the dead to enrage them still more? Leave the
dead, and think of the living who love you. You are a
king; fight like a king, and, if necessary, fall like a king."

"Sire," said Bayonet, entering, sword in hand, "time

"General, to horse!" cried Tonto; "let us go."
Bayonet quitted the room to give the needful orders.
When he was gone, Charming looked at Tonto and said:
"No, I will not go. I do not understand my feelings; I

abhor myself. I am not afraid of death; I am going to

kill myself; nevertheless, I will not fight."

"Sire," said Tonto, "in Heaven's name, summon up your
courage. To Great God!" he exclaimed, wringing

his hands, "the prince will not listen to me; we are lost.

Come!" said he, taking hold of Charming's cloak; "up,

sire; to horse, unhappy prince!Save your kingdom save

your people save aJl that love you. Coward! look at me;
I amnothing but a child, yet I am about to die for you.

Fight! do not disgrace yourself.

If you do not rise I will
insult you your servant.
I, You are a coward do you
hear? a coward!"
And behold! the insolent page boxed the king's ears.
"S'death!" cried Charming, drawing his sword. Before
dying I will have the pleasure of punishing one subject, at

But the page had left the tent. With one bound he
sprang into the saddle and galloped toward the enemy,
sword in hand, crying, "The king! my friends the king!
Sound the trumpets! Forward!"
Charming, mad
with anger, spurred his horse in pursuit
of the page: like a bull at the sight of a red flag, he rushed

forward, head downward, caring neither for death nor

for danger. Bayonet rushed after the king, and the army
after the general. It was the finest cavalry charge ever
known in history.

At the noise of the squadrons, which shook the ground

like thunder, the enemy, surprised, scarcely had time to
form in line of battle. One man, however, had recognized
the king the infamous Wieduwillst. Charming was alone;

wholly absorbed in his vengeance, he saw nothing but the

page whom he was pursuing. The traitor threw himself
on the prince, sword in hand, and would have slain him at
one stroke had not Tonto, plunging his spurs into the flanks
of his horse, made the animal rear and fall on Wieduwillst.
The page received the blow intended for his master. He
threw up his arms and fell with a loud cry; but his fall, at

least, was avenged. The king thrust his sword into the
throat of the treacherous physician, and drew it forth,
dripping with blood, not without pleasure. Man is de-

cidedly the king of wild beasts.

The death decided the fate of the day. The

royal army, electrified by the heroism of its leader, soon

dispersed the straggling battalions. The rebels, having
nothing more to hope, sued for pardon, and their prayer
was granted by the happy and clement king.
An hour after quitting the camp where he had wished to
die,Charming returned in triumph, bringing with him con-
querors and conquered, all blended in the same ranks, the
former loudly protesting their loyalty, the latter over-
powering them with their enthusiasm. Nothing sharpens
devotion so much as a little treason.



The king entered his tent to rest a moment, when the

sight of Rachimburg reminded him of Tonto.

"Is the page dead?" he asked.

"No, sire," answered Rachimburg; "unfortunately for
him, he is still living; he is hopeless. I ordered him carried

to his aunt's, the Countess de Castro's, close by here."

"Is he the countess's nephew?" said the king. "I was
never told of it."
"Your Majesty has forgotten it," replied Rachimburg,
quietly. "The poor child is fatally wounded in the shoul-
der; he cannot recover. would give him great happi-
ness could he see Your Majesty before he dies."

"Very well," returned the king; "lead me to him."

On his arrival at the castle
Charming was met by the
countess, who conducted him to a darkened room. The
page was stretched, pale and bleeding, on a couch; never-
theless, he had strength to raise his head and welcome the

"What a miracle!" exclaimed Charming. "This is the
strangest wound that I ever saw in my life: one side of
Tonto's mustache is gone!"
"Sire," said the countess, "the blade of the sword proba-
bly swept off one side. Nothing is so capricious as sword
wounds, as every one knows."
"How strange!" cried the king. "On one side it is
Tonto, my page, my insolent subject, and on the other it is
no, I am not mistaken it is you, my
good angel and my
savior; it is you, my poor Pazza!"
He fell on his knees and seized her hand, which lay on
the coverlet.
"Sire," said Pazza, "my days are numbered, but before
"No, no, Pazza, you shall not die," cried the king, in
"Before dying," she added, casting down her eyes, "I
hope that Your Majesty will forgive me the box on the ear
which I gave youmorning in indiscreet zeal

"Enough," said the king; "I forgive you. After all, a

throne and honor were well worth what I received."
"Alas!" said Pazza, "that is not all."

"What!" exclaimed Charming, "is there anything more?"

"Oh, sire, what have you done?" cried the countess;
"my child is dying!"
"My Pazza, you must not die!" exclaimed the king.
"Speak, and be sure that I forgive in advance all you have
done. Alas! it is I that have need of forgiveness."
"Sire, the little doctor who took the liberty of boxing
Your Majesty's ears
"Was it you that sent him?" asked Charming, with a
"No, sire, I myself was he. Ah, what would I not have
done to save my who, to save Your Majesty
king! It was I

from the traitorous knaves that surrounded you, took the

liberty of boxing your ears
"Enough," said Charming; "I forgive you, though the
lesson was a harsh one."
"Alas! this is not all," said Pazza.

"What, more?" cried the king, rising.

"Oh, aunt, I am dying!" exclaimed Pazza. By dint of
care, however, she was restored to life; and, turning
languishing eyes toward the king, "Sire," said she, "the
gipsy girl at the masked ball, who dared to box your
"Was yourself, Pazza?" said charming. "Oh, I forgive
you for that; I well deserved it. How could I doubt you,
who are sincerity itself! But, now I think of it, do you
remember the rash vow that you made on the night of our
marriage? You have kept your promise; it is for me to

keep mine. Pazza, make haste to recover, and return to

the castle from which happiness fled with you."
"I have a last favor to ask of Your Majesty," said Pazza.
"Rachimburg was the witness this morning of a scene for
which I blush, and of which all must remain ignorant. I
commend this faithful servant to
your goodness."
"Rachimburg," said the king, "take this purse, and keep
the secret under penalty of your head."
"That makes the fourth," whispered Rachimburg to
himself; "my fortune is made."
In a few moments Pazza was asleep. "Do you think that
she will recover?" asked Charming, anxiously, of the
"Bah!" said the old lady. "No matter how ill a woman
may be, happiness will bring her back from the brink of the
grave. Kiss the queen, my nephew; it will do her more

good than all the doctors in the world."

Charming stooped and kissed the sleeping Pazza. An
angelic smile stole over her features, at the sight of which
he wept like a child.



The countess was right (women are always right past

sixty). A fortnight of happiness set Pazza on her feet

again, and enabled her to make a triumphant entry into

the city with the king, her husband. Her paleness, and
her wounded arm, which she carried in a sling, added to her
grace and beauty. Charming had eyes for no one but the
queen, and the people's looks followed the king's.
They were more than an hour in reaching the castle.
The magistrates had erected not less than three triumphal
arches, frowning fortresses, defended each by thirty-six
deputations and thirty-six speeches. The first arch, made
of trellis-work, and adorned with leaves and flowers, bore

the inscription,


This was intrusted to the keeping of five or six thousand

young girls, dressed in white, with pink ribbons, representing
the spring of the year, the hope of the future, welcoming

Glory and Beauty.

The second arch, more solidly built, was a frame covered
with tapestry, surmounted by Justice, with her eyes ban-
daged and her scales in her hand.
On the pedestal of the statue was written,



A host of priests, statesmen, and magistrates, in robes of

all colors, represented Religion, Wisdom, and Virtue; at
least so said these venerable and discreet personages, who
are never in error.
Last came an immense arch, a true military trophy,
bearing as its motto,


Here the army awaited its general, and the queen was
saluted by the majestic voice of a hundred cannon and two
hundred drums a voice before which all human eloquence
falters, and which always has the last word.
I spare you a description of the dinner, which was inter-
minable, and of sixty more speeches from the court gazette,
where they had already done service two or three times,
and wherein they were again deposited for the use of future
generations. There is nothing so monotonous as happi-
ness, and we must be indulgent to those who sing its praises
officially. In such cases, the ablest is he who says the least.
The long evening, during which the king had lavished
his most gracious smiles on those whom he
despised at the
bottom of his heart, was at length at an end, and Charming
led Pazza,no longer to a dungeon, but to a magnificent
apartment, where a new surprise awaited her. At the
bottom of the room was an illuminated transparency, on
which were written bad that a king alone could
lines so

have been the author of them. These lines, which were

published in the official gazette, have been handed down to
us by one of those indiscreet persons who suffer no follies
of the past to be lost. Such persons are the rag-pickers
of history.

Ye indolent dunces, who rust in your sloth,

Too lazy or wilful to learn;
Ye courtiers, who crowd round the king, nothing loth

By base flattery his favor to earn;

Ye doctors, who laugh at us cowards, and sell

Long words and wise oracles dear

Beware lest some night a mischievous sprite
Should give you a box on the ear.

And you, ye proud husbands, puffed up with conceit,

Who deem yourselves statesmen so wise
That the whole world admiringly bows at your feet
Who truth, love, and goodness despise
Beware lest some day your less frivolous wives,
Derided by those they held dear,
Should start from your side, aroused by just pride,
And give you a box on the ear.
"What means enigma, sire?" asked Pazza.

"It means that I do myself justice," answered the king.

"I am nothing except through you, dear Pazza; all that I
know and all that I think I owe to you. Without you I am
nothing but a soulless body, fit only for follies."

"Pardon me if I contradict Your Majesty," said Pazza.

"Oh," returned the king, "I affect no false modesty; I

know very well that I have the clearest head of any in my

council ; my ministers themselves are forced to acknowledge
it, for they are always of my opinion; but with all this
there is more wisdom in your little finger than in all my
royal brain. My resolution, therefore, is fixed. Let my
court and people celebrate wisdom, my goodness, and
evenmy valor; very well, and I accept the homage.
it is all

You alone have the right to laugh at it, and you will not
betray me. But from this day I abandon my power to
you. The king, my dear Pazza, will be only the chief of
your subjects, the faithful minister of your will. You shall
write the piece and I will play it; the applause will be

mine, according to custom, and I will give it back to you

by force of love."
"Do not talk in this way, my dear," said Pazza.
"I know what I am saying," returned the king, warmly.
"I wish you to rule; I mean that in my empire, as in my
house, nothing shall be done except by your command;
I am the master and the king; I desire and order it."

"Sire," said Pazza, "I am your wife and servant; it is

my duty to obey."
After this, says the chronicle, they lived happily to a

good old age, beloved by all their subjects; and the people
of the kingdom of Wild Oats still talk of the good old days
of Prince Charming and the Princess Pazza.



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